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Super moons, eclipses top 2021 astronomical events list

(AP Photo, file)

We often hear the term “super moon” and wonder if that is really a true astronomical term.

The moon comes to two important positions every calendar month, perigee and apogee. They refer to the closest position that the moon gets to Earth in a calendar month and the farthest position in which the moon is located.

The moon at its closest (perigee) can come within 221,524 miles of our planet and be as far away (apogee) as 252,088 miles.

That difference of some 30,000 miles makes a big difference to what we see in our skies.

The term super moon is really not a true astronomical term, as the source of this name seems to come from an astrologer named Richard Nolle, who coined the term in a 1979 article in Horoscope magazine.

He went on to say that a super moon is one which occurs at or near within 90% of its closest approach to Earth in a given orbit.

That interpretation further says that a super moon occurs when the moon is closer than 224,865 miles of Earth.

This is not a true astronomical definition, but rather one from the world of astrology.

The visual difference in these types of special moons is quite dramatic, as the so-called super moon will appear some 14% larger and 30% brighter than a nonperigee, or apogee, full moon.

There can also be new moons which are dark super moons too!

Here are the dates of the 2021 super moons:

• April 27 – super pink moon

• May 26 – super flower/blood moon eclipse

• June 24 – super strawberry moon

There will be a number of eclipses in 2021 and only a few that we can observe from Arizona.

The total lunar eclipse on May 26 favors observers in the western U.S. and Hawaii.

A partial lunar eclipse on Nov. 18 comes on a micro moon and is best seen in North America and South America.

The annular/partial solar eclipse on June 10 will be best seen by observers in northern Ontario, Canada, at sunrise. Partial eclipse for large part of North America.

A total solar eclipse will happen Dec. 4 and be seen only in Antarctica.

Follow all the information on 2021 solar eclipses here.

Follow all the information on 2021 lunar eclipses here.

2021 provides us with some interesting eclipses!

To print your own monthly star chart, click here.

To view satellites/dates/times of passage, click here.

Listen to the Dr. Sky Show on KTAR News 92.3 FM on Saturdays at 3 a.m.

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