Holi 2020 will be witness to the second-closest supermoon of the year
- This year’s Holi will kick off with the second-closest supermoon of the year gracing the skies tonight, March 9.
- Holi’s phalgun purmina is always a full moon, but a supermoon is a rare occurrence.
- Tonight’s supermoon is also the first of three consecutive supermoons set to appear in 2020.
Every year, Holi comes on a different date because it’s dictated by the Hindu lunar calendar and must coincide with the final full moon of the year — the phalgun purnima. However, every March full moon isn’t a supermoon.
AdvertisementSupermoons only occur when a full moon coincides with the Moon’s closest approach to the planet. In 2020, the March 9 full moon will be the second-closest of the year. It’s also the first of the three consecutive supermoons set to appear in 2020.
|Date of supermoon||Distance from Earth|
|March 9 2020||357,404 km|
|April 8 2020||357,035 km|
|May 7 2020||361,184 km|
According to historians, Holi — then referred to as Holika — was a religious ritual where married women gather around a bonfire to pray to the Moon god Raka for the good health of their families.
A brighter Holi
Even though the difference is difficult to perceive with the naked eye, supermoons are a little brighter and closer than a conventional full moon.
The Moon’s orbit around the Earth is elliptical — not a perfect circle. This means that at certain points, the Moon is closer to the planet than at other points of its orbit. On average, the Moon is around 382,900 kilometres from Earth. However, at its closest, the perigee, it’s 21,000 kilometres closer.
The Moon’s closest approach, within 90% of the perigee, combined with a full moon results in a supermoon. But, there are only a few supermoons in a year if at all. The closest supermoon in recorded history occurred in November 2016. However, an even closer supermoon is set to rise in the 2030s.
AdvertisementWith a supermoon coming in for the holi purnima, the skies are going to be 30% brighter with the Moon appearing 14% larger.
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