Super Flower Moon: South Downs is ideal location to view astronomical phenomenon

The South Downs will be one of the best places in the country to view the Super Flower Moon next week.

Friday, 21st May 2021, 12:09 pm

The second, and final, supermoon of the year is set to rise on Wednesday (May 26) and, according to the Royal Observatory Greenwich, the Super Flower Moon will technically be at its fullest at 12.13pm, but it will still be visible in all its glory after dark on May 25/26.

As well as a being a National Park, the South Downs is also an International Dark Sky Reserve known as Moore’s Reserve – named after the late Selsey astronomer and The Sky at Night presenter Sir Patrick Moore – making it he perfect place to take in the full beauty of the night sky.

What is a supermoon?

Last year's Super Flower Moon on May 7, 2020. Picture: Sarah Standing

The Moon an elliptical orbit around the Earth, which means at certain points on its path, it can be further away, or closer to us.

The closest point of its orbit, about 360,000km, is called the perigee, and the furthest, about 400,000km, is the apogee.

When a full Moon falls on the perigee, it appears far bigger and brighter in the sky and becomes known as a supermoon.

What is a Flower Moon?

The May full Moon is traditionally known as the Flower Moon simply because it appears at the time of blossoming flowers.

Last year’s Flower Moon was also a supermoon, rising on May 7.

What is an International Dark Sky Reserve?

An International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) International Dark Sky Reserve is a public or private land possessing an exceptional or distinguished quality of starry nights and nocturnal environment that is specifically protected for its scientific, natural, educational, cultural, heritage and/or public enjoyment.

Reserves consist of a core area meeting minimum criteria for sky quality and natural darkness, and a peripheral area that supports dark sky preservation in the core.

Reserves are formed through a partnership of multiple land managers who have recognized the value of the natural nighttime environment through regulations and long-term planning.

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