Biggest and brightest supermoon since 1948 lights up the night sky

The largest full moon in nearly seven decades has made its appearance and it’s magnificent.

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

A supermoon rises over the Statue of Freedom on the Capitol dome in Washington, DC November 13, 2016. The supermoon will venture to its closest point to the Earth in 68 years.

Updated Nov 17, 2016

The largest and brightest full moon in nearly seven decades was on display on Monday, darting in and out from behind the clouds.

Known as the supermoon, the unusually big Moon won’t be witnessed again until 2034. It will be closest to Earth at a distance of 356,509 kilometres (221,524 miles), creating what NASA described as “an extra-supermoon”.

From India to Australia, skygazers were seen heading to high-rise buildings, ancient forts and beaches, hoping for dramatic photos and spectacular surf.

The supermoon is seen over the historical Galata Tower in Istanbul, Turkey, early November 14, 2016. Image:Reuters


The eastern Sydney suburb of Bronte became an unexpected viewing spot as thousands of people armed with picnic mats and cameras packed its small beach near Bondi to catch a glimpse of the supermoon after a Facebook invite went viral. 

Loud cheers went up among the crowd as the moon made brief appearances between heavy, grey clouds before disappearing.

Locals watch the supermoon rise over the ocean at a beach in Sanur on Indonesia's resort island of Bali on November 14, 2016. Image: AFP

Special viewing events were being organised by astronomy groups, with members of one in Indonesia's Yogyakarta -- the heart of an ancient sultanate -- taking to the rooftop of their club headquarters to get a glimpse of the supermoon as it rose over the city's historic buildings.

Meanwhile, professional astronomers were at the ready at observatories across the region to explain the phenomenon to curious members of the public. 

A supermoon rises behind small sculptures standing on the roof of a tower in the Forbidden City in Beijing on November 14, 2016. Image:AFP

In Thailand, astrologers were variously predicting the supermoon would bring disaster or great fortune. 

Soraja Nuan-yoo, renowned for predicting the 2004 tsunami that killed many in Thailand and other countries round the Indian Ocean, warned that when the moon gets close to the Earth, "natural disasters happen".

The moon rises over the harbor of the costal town of Lambert's Bay, South Africa, Monday, Nov. 14, 2016. Image: AP

The supermoon also means a stronger high tide, something that gets surfers giddy with excitement, not only at the prospect of riding bigger waves, but doing so at night.

Forecasters had predicted higher than usual tides on the popular Indonesia's Bali, a favourite with surfers. 

But the holiday island was overcast and rainy when the moon rose, with surfers deciding not to take to the waters.

The moon rises behind the castle of Almodovar in Cordoba, southern Spain, on Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016. Image: AP

Astronomers say it can be hard to notice that the moon appears brighter than usual. Once it is high in the sky, it can be hard to tell it is larger but on the horizon, it could appear quite spectacular.

To get the best view, Pascal Descamps of the Paris Observatory recommended that people choose somewhere with a well-known landmark in the foreground.

The supermoon sets behind the Philadelphia skyline on Monday, Nov. 14, 2016. Image:AP

Supermoons are actually quite common -- there is one every 14 months on average.

"But some supermoons are more super than others," said Descamps.

TRTWorld and agencies