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Supermoon lights up skies across world

By Staff Reporter

Published 15/11/2016

The supermoon setting in Cape Town in South Africa
The supermoon setting in Cape Town in South Africa
The supermoon setting in Belfast
The supermoon over Seville, Spain

The brightest moon in almost 69 years lit up last night's sky in a treat for stargazers around the globe.

However, cloudy conditions hampered the efforts of UK sky-gazers to see the supermoon as the natural satellite came closer to Earth than it has in decades.

Hopes for a clear view of the moon, appearing 14% bigger and up to 30% brighter than usual, were dashed in most parts.

Despite less-than-ideal conditions, many took out their cameras regardless, including many Belfast Telegraph readers.

When the full moon passed at 11.21pm, it was at its closest and brightest since 1948 - and there won't be another closer one until 25 November, 2034, when the moon will come even closer, within 221,485 miles.

The moon orbits the Earth in an oval shape. It is at its brightest this week because it is coming closer to the Earth along its elliptical orbit than at any time since January 1948.

The supermoon also brings stronger than usual high tides, followed by plunging low tides the next morning.

According to the astronomy website earthsky.org, the term supermoon entered usage five years ago when the closest full moon fell on March 19, 2011.

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