Chemistry and Physics

We’ve got a Supermoon on the way! Don’t miss out!

What is the Supermoon? And how can you see it?

February 2018 had no Supermoon however this year on the 19th February we are due to have the biggest full moon of 2019! This is your low-down on what the Supermoon is, and our recommended places to view it across Nottingham!


What is the Supermoon?

Unsurprisingly, science and physics are not quite as perfect as they originally appear, as can be said for the orbit of the moon around the Earth!

The orbit of the moon around the Earth is not a perfect circle, and features an apogee and perigee, these are the points in the moon’s orbit in which the moon is at its closest and farthest point from the Earth.

“the moon appears 30% brighter and 14% larger”


This imperfect circle is as a result of gravitational and tidal forces both with respect to the Earth itself, as well as the Sun and other planets.

In order for a supermoon to occur two key ingredients are key – the moon must be at its closest approach to the Earth in the perigee position; it must be at full phase which occurs every 29.5 days. As a result, the moon appears 30% brighter and 14% larger during a Supermoon.

This phenomenon occurs only a few occasions throughout the year due to changes to the moon’s orbital orientation varying as a result of the Earth itself encircling the Sun. 19th February is to be the biggest and brightest of the year – don’t miss out!

The Supermoon will rise at 5.11pm GMT and set the following day at 7.50am GMT.

“the moon must be at its closest approach to the Earth “

Here are our recommendations on where to try and catch it (if the weather isn’t too bad, fingers crossed!):

University Park Campus Lake – you ought to be able to see it without lots of buildings blocking your vision, and it would reflect off the lake!

Wollaton Hall (closes at 17:30 on 19th) – with a big open space and hopefully less light pollution than town, you could pop to the park after lectures.

Nottingham Castle on the Hill – it should be easier to view the phenomenon from high ground.


Inga Becker-Hansen


Got any more suggestions for places? Let us know at

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Featured image courtesy of Jim, the Photographer  via Flickr. No changes were made to this image. Image license found here.

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