By James Rogers
Published February 20, 2019
Skygazers across the globe have been enjoying the “super snow moon” as the largest supermoon of 2019 lit up the sky.
February’s full moon is known as the “snow moon” as a result of the heavy snowfall that often occurs at that time of year, according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac. As a result, the Feb. 19 supermoon has been dubbed the “super snow moon.”
Supermoons occur when the Moon’s orbit brings it to the closest point to Earth while the Moon is full. Photographers were already capturing stunning shots of the supersize Moon on Feb. 18 and early Tuesday morning.
“When a full moon appears at perigee [its closest point to Earth] it is slightly brighter and larger than a regular full moon—and that's where we get a ‘supermoon’,” explains NASA, on its website, noting that the phrase was coined in 1979.
2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing and the satellite continues to be a source of fascination for scientists and the general public.
China, for example, recently became the first country to successfully land a spacecraft on the far side of the Moon.
Israel is set to embark on a historic mission to land a spacecraft on the surface of the Moon.
The unmanned Beresheet spacecraft will launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket later this week. Beresheet, which is the Hebrew word for “beginning,” is expected to expected to reach the Moon on April 4.
Israeli nonprofit SpaceIL and state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries told reporters on Monday that the launch is scheduled for 8:45 p.m. ET on Thursday. The launch had been originally slated for last December.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.
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