Tonight’s Supermoon is the last in a series of four consecutive Supermoons that graced the night skies this year. Supermoons appear when a Full Moon falls near or at the lunar perigee – the Moon’s closest orbital distance from Earth. In strictly astronomical terms, the Full Moon will peak tonight at 7.39pm BST when the Moon and Sun are directly opposite one another, with the Earth in between.
You won’t see this happen from the UK as the Moon will not rise until after 9.30pm BST.
But the good news is you can track the Supermoon’s movements without having to leave home, thanks to the Virtual Telescope Project in Italy.
Dr Gianluca Masi, an astrophysicist in charge of the Virtual Telescope, said: “We love the Full Moon. We never miss its show while it rises or sets, surrounded by unique colours.
“When it is closer than usual to the Earth (something described by the very popular term ‘Supermoon), it is even more fascinating.
“And what if you admire all this from Rome, while our satellite climbs the heaven above the legendary skyline of Rome?”
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June’s Full Moon is traditionally known as the Strawberry Moon – a name taken from Native American time-keeping traditions.
Legend has it, this Moon arrived around the same time wild strawberries were ripening and would soon be ready for picking.
In Europe, this Full Moon is also known as the Mead Moon and the Honey Moon.
How to watch the Supermoon live online tonight:
Courtesy of the Virtual Telescope Project, you can watch the Supermoon in the embedded video player above.
The free live stream is scheduled to kick off at 8pm BST (7pm UTC).
The broadcast will track the Moon as it sails over the picturesque skyline of Italy’s capital, Rome.
And Dr Masi will be at hand to talk you through this astronomical phenomenon.
So if cloudy skies and poor weather threatens to spoil the show tonight, tune into the broadcast here tonight.
And you do not want to miss this Supermoon as the next one will not appear until June 2022.
Will the Supermoon appear bigger and brighter tonight?
Supermoons appear three to four times a year and they always arrive in pairs.
Because the Moon appears slightly closer to the Earth than normal, you might expect the Moon to be bigger and brighter than usual as well.
And you wouldn’t be wrong but the difference in size and brightness is not apparent enough to be discernable to the naked eye.
However, an astronomer has told Express.co.uk there is a peculiar optical illusion that can make the Moon look much bigger than expected.
Dr Daniel Brown, an Associate Professor at Nottingham Trent University, explained: “To notice the full difference between the smallest and largest possible apparent size of the Moon you would need to remember its size from nearly half a year ago. Good luck trying.
“However, the of the ‘Moon illusion’ is something that indeed changes how the human eye perceives the size of the Moon while it is close to the horizon.
“Not because its apparent size is larger but because of how our brain understands images.”
Watching the Full Moon appear low on the horizon can make it appear much bigger than when it is high up in the skies.
Dr Brown added: “And that happens for every Moon, not only Supermoons. So a far more exciting thing to watch out for.”
When is the next Full Moon this year?
After the Strawberry Moon vanishes from sight, the next Full Moon will appear on July 31.
The next Full Moon is known as the Buck Moon and is believed to be named after young bucks sprouting new antlers around this time of the year.
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