The supermoon on Monday (March 9) inspired some beautiful photography celebrating a close approach of the full moon to Earth.
Since the moon does not orbit our planet in a perfect circle, at times the full moon coincides with the satellite's closest approach to our planet. The full moon of March, known as the Worm Moon, arrived on Monday at 1:48 p.m. EDT (1748 GMT), and it reached perigee, its closest point to Earth, today (March 10) at 2:33 a.m. EDT (0633 GMT), nearly 13 hours later. At the time of perigee, the moon was 223,980 miles (360,461 kilometers) from Earth, compared to its average distance of 240,000 miles (384,400 km).
Practically speaking, it's hard to tell the difference in size with the naked eye. But supermoons still provide an opportunity for us to look up at the night sky and reflect on the significance of Earth's natural satellite, which has preserved much of the solar system's history, since there is no weather or atmosphere eroding its surface. This makes the moon an attractive target for science missions, human exploration and also photographs.
Astrophotographer and regular Space.com contributor Chirag Upreti took in the sights of New York City during the supermoon, including the shots you see here of the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building backdropped by the moon.
"A day after International Women's Day, the supermoon rises with Lady Liberty in the foreground," Upreti told Space.com in an email. "It was an epic moonrise, and as I clicked the shutter, I had to take time to view it visibly with the naked eye. The first thought in my mind was, since eons, humans must have stopped and gawked at a full moon rise when it's this clear. [It's] such a treat."
Related: The moon: 10 surprising lunar facts
Another iconic American structure made it into NASA photographer Joel Kowsky's work from Washington. The moon, shrouded a little bit by clouds, pops up just to the side of the U.S. Capitol Building, where decisions about NASA's funding and direction are discussed by politicians.
One of the matters being talked about there right now is NASA's ability to bring humans back to the moon by 2024. The agency says it is committed to the goal, but it will also need to prepare a rocket, a spaceship, spacesuits and other equipment rapidly to reach the mark.
Back in New York, Upreti said he was glad of another shot that ties in the moon's connection to nature on Earth, as well as our urban activity.
"Seagulls briefly flocked out light at twilight was the almost-super moon (illuminated at greater than 99%) rose over the midtown skyline, with the Empire State Building in view, after sundown pastel hues," Upreti said. "It was a beautiful sight, that connected the urban scene with these birds."
- How the 'supermoon' looks (infographic)
- Amazing moon photos from NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter
- Supermoon Quiz! Are you 'super' or just lost in space?
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