Super moon coming

2013-06-21 07:01
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What a super moon!

View pictures taken by News24 users of the Supermoon - at its closest, brightest and fullest.

Cape Town - Full moon hiking is quite popular all over South Africa and if you happen to be one of those moon-glow adventure enthusiasts, then you will be pleased to know that on 23 June, the full moon will be the biggest and brightest for 2013.

The phenomenon of the Super Moon is helped along by the occurrence of what is scientifically known as the point of Perigee - meaning the time of year when Earth's natural satellite is at its closest point. It is known as a point of apogee when it is farthest away. See, the distance between the Earth and the moon changes all the time as the moon orbits the Earth at an ellipse and not a straightforward circle - which means a full Moon can happen at apogee, perigee, or any point in between.

This year, the average perigee distance is about 363 000 kilometers (225 000 miles), and the average apogee distance about 405 000 km (251 000 miles). During this year's super moon the distance is estimated to be 357 000 km (221 300 miles) away, admittedly just a few fractions shorter. On June 23 full Moon occurs just 20 minutes after perigee - and if ever you've wanted to bask in the moonlight, this is as close as it is going to get all year.

Puritan astronomers warn despite being called a super moon, you should not expect it to look dramatically bigger, considering that April's full moon was just over 358 000 kilometers away. Not entirely a bad thing if you think about how the moon affects the tides and even the emotions of some. A much bigger moon would just mean bigger problems.

But that does not mean you shouldn't get out and about to – weather permitting - to howl away.  Share your pics of the super moon if you do venture out:

You could try...

Lion’s Head, Cape Town - The Mother of all Full Moon Hikes

Hiking to the top of Lions Head at full moon has become a more than popular event. It’s an easy hike, that allows you take in the beautiful views of Table Mountain embracing the Mother City bowl. This hike is free and does not require any bookings. It is best to go in a group, pack a picnic and your favourite vino as well as some warm clothes, as the Cape weather can be unpredictable.

(News24 user - Helipad)

Swartlvlei Beach, Garden Route – Moonlight meander

Otherwise if you’re fascinated by the pull of the moon on the ocean tides, best you try this starlight stroll in the magical Garden Route. Might be something to try with kids - even if you don't make it for the Super Moon. Learn about the fascinating bounty left behind by the waves, such as the egg case of the paper nautilus, the egg collar of the moon snail, "mermaid's purses" and a range of shells during this three-hour ecological exploration of the area's tidal pools. It costs R75/person and bookings essential (email You will need a torch with three-hour battery life, shoes that can get wet and a windbreaker.

Know of any other places to enjoy the Super Moon – why not post a comment below or come chat to us on the News24 Travel Facebook page?

Read more on:    weekend escapes  |  travel south africa  |  lifestyle

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