We have recently been treated to a number of cosmic events, including rare annular or “little-star” eclipses, a solar eclipse, a super-Eclipse and a lunar eclipse.
Friday and Saturday were both full moon weekends, and a very special one.
On March 31, the full moon was the second full moon in the month and it became the last tetrad, or a series of three full moons in a row, before 2018 is over. This year’s total lunar eclipse was noteworthy because it was the longest lunar eclipse of the 21st century — over five hours of darkness where the moon appeared as a blood red ball.
Weird details aside, this supermoon weekend also saw the longest time on Earth for any single “super moon” cycle. According to Christian Science Monitor science writer Natalie Wolchover, this time, “the moon will be in line with Earth in the same direction and the distance between the two of them will be at its widest point,” meaning this is an all-time supermoon maximum.
During a supermoon — which refers to a full moon that appears larger than a typical full moon because it’s closer to Earth — the moon looks at least 14 percent larger, and possibly 30 percent brighter, than a typical full moon. Friday’s supermoon also coincided with first contact of Jupiter and the moon.
Despite a noticeably smaller weekend, March has been an amazing month for astronomy and stargazing. On April 8, the crescent moon will cast a “blood” sunset on Earth, and on April 15, the full moon will rise closer to Earth than it has in 16 centuries.