This year’s first supermoon potentially graced the sky on February 9. A supermoon is usually defined as the largest full moon possible.
This is a very lose definition and roughly means this happens when the full moon occurs within 10 percent of its closest to Earth.
But in reality, supermoons are never huge at all. There are in fact countless misunderstandings about the Moon and how it appears in the sky. Here are five such examples – and how to disprove them yourself.
The supermoon is huge
From an observer’s point of view, a supermoon is approximately just 14 percent bigger than when it’s smallest. That said, if you were viewing a normal moon and a supermoon side by side, you would be able to spot the difference.
But our eyes cannot measure the apparent sizes of objects in the sky with high precision without comparing them to something. And herein lies the misconception.
The Moon does not suddenly grow in size, but gradually appears a tiny bit bigger and then smaller during the month. To fully compare how super this moon is, you would need to compare it with a full moon several months ago. And even then, the difference is rather small.