Get set for the "super" Full Flower Moon (opens in new tab) of May! The full moon will occur on Thursday (May 7) at 6:45 a.m. EDT (1045 GMT), and it will be the last supermoon of 2020. See it at its fullest and brightest tonight (May 6) with your own eyes or a live webcast.
The full moon (opens in new tab) arrives just 32 hours after the moon reached perigee, or the closest approach to Earth in its orbit. That makes this a "supermoon," according to NASA (opens in new tab).
You will see a very subtle difference in the moon's size, as supermoons (opens in new tab) appear up to 7% larger and 15% brighter than the usual full moon. On May 7, the supermoon will be about 33 arc minutes (0.55 degrees) across, compared to the usual 31 arc minutes (0.52 degrees).
NASA says this will be the last supermoon of 2020 after a string of larger-than-usual moons early in the year, in February, March and April.
Observers in New York City will see the moon rise tonight at 7:10 p.m. local time, which is 48 minutes before sunset, according to timeanddate.com (opens in new tab). The moon sets over New York City on Thursday (May 7) at 6:06 a.m. local time, 20 minutes after sunrise and about 39 minutes after the moon is at its fullest.
So, to get the best view of the supermoon, you'll want to look up early Thursday morning, as the moon will appear bigger and brighter than it will at the end of the day. It will rise again Thursday evening at 8:26 p.m. local time, or about an hour and a half after sunset. The moon will be in the constellation Libra (opens in new tab).
To look at the moon, you really need little more than your eyes and clear skies; give yourself a few minutes to adjust to the darkness of the night, and bundle up if you are still feeling the spring chill in your region. A pair of binoculars (opens in new tab) will reveal dark and light regions of the moon in more detail, including some craters. A telescope (opens in new tab) will show the most detail, although it may be hard to see the surface under full moon conditions because there are few shadows on the surface.
If the weather isn't cooperative or it is hard for you to go outside due to local physical distancing regulations, you can always tune into live astronomy webcasts online.
The online observatory Slooh (opens in new tab) will broadcast a live star party via YouTube for the public, and paid members can join in the live discussion via Zoom. Hosted by Slooh astronomer Paul Cox, the show will feature live views of the moon as experts discuss the astronomical event. You can watch it live here on Space.com (opens in new tab) tonight (May 6) beginning at 7 p.m. EDT (2300 GMT), courtesy of Slooh, or directly via Slooh's YouTube channel (opens in new tab).
Then on Thursday (May 7), you can tune into another live webcast of the supermoon. Astrophysicist Gianluca Masi of The Virtual Telescope Project (opens in new tab) in Italy will hold a free livestream beginning at 2:30 p.m. EDT (1830 GMT). During the webcast, Masi will show live views of the moon rising over Rome. You can watch it live here (opens in new tab), courtesy of The Virtual Telescope Project.
"The show of the full moon (and of course of the 'supermoon') offers its best when our satellite rises or sets, which happens at sunset and at dawn, respectively," Masi said in a statement (opens in new tab). "During the twilight, the residual solar light scattered all around by our atmosphere allows us to admire the scenery, while the full moon rises or falls on the horizon."
Editor's note: If you have an amazing supermoon photo you'd like to share for a possible story or image gallery, you can send images and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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