Summer’s second supermoon appears

Sunday brought a special cosmological treat. The year’s biggest and brightest full moon rose.

This year has three supermoons. We had one July 12, and have yet another one Sept. 9. But the supermoon this weekend was the most ‘‘super’’ of the bunch.

The term refers to the time when the moon, which orbits Earth in a slightly elliptical trajectory, is at the absolute closest it can get while also being full. Other full moons have come close. But as a supermoon, Sunday’s was ever so slightly more magnificent.


‘‘The size difference between even the dimmest and brightest full moon is only a bit more than 10 percent,’’ said Shawn Domagal-Goldman, research space scientist at NASA’ Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. ‘‘So the difference between other ‘supermoons’ and this one isn’t huge.’’

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Lunar events should be especially exciting to urbanites.

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A look at images from social media

In Madeket beach, Nantucket.
Tara Conway Tanzer via Facebook
In Madeket beach, Nantucket.

Known as the Sturgeon Moon (because of the abundance of sturgeon in the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain at this time of year), it became full officially at 2:09 p.m., just 26 minutes after coming closest to Earth.

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While the moon officially reached full phase Sunday afternoon, it appeared more or less full Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings (at 96 to 99 percent illumination).

The moon rose at 7:55 p.m. and was expected to set at 7:20 a.m. Monday.



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