Nothing unusual about supermoons, says expert

MANILA — An expert has allayed fears about the occurrence of supermoons, citing absence of scientific basis supporting beliefs surrounding these events.

“Supermoons are normal astronomical occurrences,” said Dario dela Cruz, Space Sciences and Astronomy Section chief of State-run Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).

Except for some above-average tidal rise due to the moon’s closeness to Earth, he said occurrence of supermoons has no adverse impacts.

He clarified the matter as PAGASA said another supermoon will occur next month after the one this Monday (Nov. 14).

Among beliefs associated with supermoons are kindling of lunacy among these events’ viewers and onslaught of long-term problems from altercations during these celestial occurrences.

Dela Cruz said supermoon is a full moon located within 90 percent of its closest approach to Earth in a given orbit.

Supermoon is also known as perigee full moon due to this celestial body’s closeness to Earth, he noted.

“It’s just a full moon located at a closer-than-average distance to Earth,” he said.

Citing the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), PAGASA said a supermoon can appear as much as 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter than a full moon at its apogee or farthest distance from Earth.

Clouds or glare of urban lights can dim a supermoon’s brightness by about 30 percent, however, noted PAGASA.

For the Dec. 13 supermoon event this year, PAGASA said the moon will be 358,564.36 kilometers from the Earth.

That’s nearly 2,000 km farther from Earth than the 356,621.66 km distance PAGASA reported for the Nov. 14, 2016 supermoon event.

Both December and October perigee full moons this year are still considered supermoon occurrences, however, PAGASA said.

PAGASA described the Nov. 14 supermoon event as the closest the moon will be to Earth since Jan. 26, 1948.

“The moon won’t be seen this close to Earth again until Nov. 26, 2034,” PAGASA added. Catherine Teves/