Sun. May 26th, 2024

Thursday August 31st will provide a spectacular view for sky-gazers. Three astronomical events will synchronise with the second full moon of the calendar month being at its closest point to the earth.

According to the Farmer’s Almanac, a 200-year-old annual publication charting each year’s major weather and astronomical events and tracking the Moon’s movements, this particular blue moon will be the “closest, biggest, and brightest full super-moon of 2023”. The term ‘blue moon’ is used to describe the phenomenon of two full moons occurring in the same calendar month.

A full moon is a regular occurrence, cycling every 29 days, with a super-moon occurring seasonally, while a blue moon is a relatively uncommon event, cycling every 2 ½ years (thereabouts). It is the alignment of these events which makes this super blue moon so notable. The next blue super-moon will not be seen until 2032.

The first super-moon of August 1st appeared 14 per cent larger, but more notably 30 per cent brighter than when it is furthest away. The second super-moon of the month, the super ‘blue’ moon, will occur on August 31st and will be even closer and therefore brighter than the first occurrence.

Fortunately, for New England residents, the Tamworth Regional Astronomy Centre (TRAC) will be open on the night of the blue super-moon. Garry Cooper of TRAC said they will be opening the Astronomy & Science Centre on that night for viewing the blue super-moon event.

“We haven’t planned a full ‘public event’ for the occurrence as such, but it will fall on Thursday 31st of August which happens to be our normal weekly viewing night which is open to the public.”

“Our goal is to provide educational opportunities for people of all ages to learn more about astronomy and associated sciences.”

“We look forward to every opportunity of using our amazing instruments to help promote an interest in astronomy across the Tamworth region and beyond,” Garry said.

“During night visits we’ll have various telescopes for optical viewing and the big Hewitt Camera/telescope running.”

Tamworth Astronomy & Science Centre is open every Saturday morning 10am – 1pm, and Thursday evening from 5pm with telescope viewing starting around 7pm. The general public are always welcome to come along to check out the hundreds of display items, STEM, Megafauna, minerals, Space Suit, Planetarium, Observatories and their extensive collection of large telescopes.

For more information please contact the Tamworth Regional Astronomy Centre’s website https://www.tamworthastronomy.com.au/

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