(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –New Year dawns with a full moon which is 14% bigger and 30% brighter than some of the full moons that we have seen in the past.
Size and brightness of the full moons on poya days vary slightly from month to month because of the non-circular but elliptical shape of the Moon’s orbit around the Earth with closest distance of Moon to the Earth (“perigee”) is about 50,000 km closer than the furthest distance (“apogee”). On January 1st , at perigee, the moon lies only 356,565 km away from the Earth.
The following illustration shows the orbit of the moon around the earth and the idea of perigee and the appearance of moon at the Perigee and Apogee.
When a Full Moon takes place when the Moon is near its closest approach to Earth, it is called a Super Full Moon or a Supermoon. A Micromoon, on the other hand, is when a Full or a New Moon is near its farthest point from Earth, around apogee. It’s also known as a Minimoon, and in this year the smallest full moon is due on July 27th 2018.
The best time to see the January 1st supermoon from Sri Lanka is right after moonrise on January 1st evening or, just before the moonset on January 2nd morning, when the moon is just above the horizon said Prof. Chandana Jayaratne, Director, Astronomy and Space Science Unit, Department of Physics, University of Colombo.
The full moon of the night of January 1st is also the first of two January 2018 full moons. Some people will call the next full moon due on January 31 a Blue Moon because it’s the second of two full moons to occur in one calendar month. Moreover, this second supermoon of January 31st, 2018 will stage a total eclipse of the moon.
There will be somewhat high tide on this day but no earthquakes or other natural disasters has reported in the past on similar occasions, though there are rumors spreading about onset of natural disasters like earthquakes, tsunamis, cyclones said Prof. Jayaratne.