If you are awake early Thursday morning, go outside and look up: It will be your last chance to view a supermoon this year. This month’s full moon is called the “full flower moon,” so named as a reference to all the flowers that are reaching full bloom around now. The next supermoon won’t happen until April 2021, which, in pandemic time, may as well be the next century, so it’s worth taking the time to drink in the view.
If you aren’t an early riser—and that’s completely understandable, especially given how overworked, stressed and off-schedule we all are—the moon will still look full tonight and until Friday morning—but 6:45 AM EST on Thursday morning is the exact moment when the moon will be full.
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A supermoon is what we call it when a new or full moon occurs within 90% of perigee, which is the closest point to Earth within an orbit. Although the resulting size difference is not visible to the naked eye, the moon will look brighter than usual.
In 2020, four consecutive full moons—from February to May—met the criteria for supermoon, with May’s being the last of the year. April’s “pink supermoon” was the brightest of the year, but this one will be pretty darn bright as well.
If it is cloudy where you are, if you aren’t in a place with a clear view of the moon or if you sleep through Thursday morning’s view, the Virtual Telescope Project will have broadcast a live feed of the moon rising over the Rome skyline, which is scheduled to start at 2:30 p.m. EST on Thursday.
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In addition to the supermoon, Jupiter, Saturn and Mars will make an appearance in the southeastern sky early Thursday morning. According to NASA:
“On the morning of the full Moon on Thursday, May 7, 2020, at the time morning twilight begins (at 4:58 a.m. EDT for the Washington, D.C. area), the three planets Jupiter, Saturn and Mars will appear in the southeastern sky. The brightest of the three, Jupiter, will appear in the south-southeast at about 28 degrees above the horizon. The dimmest of the three, Saturn, will appear about 5 degrees to the left of Jupiter. Mars, slightly brighter than Saturn, will appear in the southeast at about 22 degrees above the horizon. The bright star appearing nearly directly overhead will be Vega, one of the three stars in the “Summer Triangle.” As the lunar cycle progresses, Jupiter, Saturn and the background of stars will appear to shift toward the west, while Mars will appear to shift more slowly.”
So if you are awake Thursday morning—or even if you have a few minutes this evening or tomorrow evening—make it a point go outside and look up at the moon. It’ll be a welcome distraction from… everything else.
Rachel Fairbank is a freelance science writer based in Texas. When she is not writing, she can be found spending time with her family, or at her local boxing gym.
World news – CA – How to Catch the Last Supermoon of 2020