Saturday, June 22, 2013

Super Moon 2013

Super Moon happens when Moon is most full *and* closest to Earth. For this year, it will occur on Sunday, 23 June 2013 at 7:32pm Singapore time (UT+8).

"Super Moon" is a term coined by an astrologer in recent years. The proper scientific term is Perigee Full Moon.

Watch this informative talk about Super Moon by NASA Astronomer Michelle Thaller:

Unless you are living in an air-conditioned cave in Singapore for the past week, you should know the haze situation is at national crisis level now - the Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) hit a record high 401, the armed forces are activated to speed up the distribution of N95 face masks.

This photo from NASA's Earth Observatory report says it all:

Photo Credit NASA Earth Observatory

Moon was visible for the past few nights through the thick haze. But instead of looking briliantly white, it looked more coppery-red, as in a lunar eclipse. Just like in the following photo by Clifford of an actual total lunar eclipse visible in Singapore in December 2011:

The next total lunar eclipse visible from Singapore will be in October next year. This weekend's Super Moon through haze can give you an idea how total lunar eclipses looked like since lunar eclipses will only happen during Full Moon.

We are wish for non-hazy clear skies of course. As I am writing this blog, the PSI has just dropped to 73. The less hazy the sky, the more white-bright it will be compared to being more coppery-red through haze. IMPORTANT: Please take note of the PM 2.5 levels in the air. If it is still unhealthily high (more than 100), you may still want to stay indoors instead of risking your health.

You can still observe or photography the Super Moon indoors through closed glass windows!

Full Moon is bright enough so it will be visible even through glass. Of course, not as good as without any glass medium. This is the best compromise in view of the current haze situation. So why not take this opportunity to understand the visual or photographic difference of Super Moon through a glass?

You can still use your binoculars and telescopes and look through your window glass to admire the Moon. This may be a fun activity for the whole family who is stuck indoor with windows closed due to the haze:

(1) Get some easily removable small stickers or blu-tack
(2) Use them as markers of the size/diameter of the disc of the Super Moon at your arms length
(3) Do that at regular intervals - e.g. every half an hour.

Now you can visible see the path of the Moon through your glass window. 2 weeks at around 7 July 2013 where the Moon is next furthest from Earth (i.e. apogee), do the same fun exercise again. Now you can compare different apparent sizes and path of Moon!

I do not know the effects (if any) of haze pollutants on optics (e.g. binocular/telescope/camera lens or mirror). So I cannot be responsible for any potential damage on your optical instruments if you decide to observe/photography the Moon outdoors regardless of the haze situation.

Weather, PSI and PM2.5 index permitting, my friends and I will be conducting a Super Moon public stargazing session tomorrow Sunday 23 June. We will be deploying our telescopes at the open ground in front of McDonald's at Bishan - Ang Mo Kio Park. From 7:30pm onwards till about 11pm. This location in the park has a great view of the eastern sky where we can catch the Super Moon shortly after moon rise near the horizon.

Please check/follow my twitter regularly for the latest updates and changes. You can also see the twitter updates at the right-hand margin of this webpage.

There is very little difference between the "super-ness" of the Full Moon tonight (Saturday 22 June) and tomorrow. So you may want to start observing or take photos of it starting from tonight.

If you have a camera or camcorder which has great zooming capability, this weekend evenings are the best times to use it! Check out this video by YouTuber DigitalMediaProTV:

Moon will be rising tonight (Sat 22/6) at 7:08pm  6:06 pm and tomorrow (Sun 23/6) at 8:11pm 7:08pm. Good luck!


Update 23 June 2013

Before 7:30pm, use an accurate compass (or phone app), locate and face 110 degrees (East-South-East), make sure the Moon is not obstructed and pray for clear skies!

It will located at about 4 degrees above horizon - about half the vertical length of an extended fist.

Continue to enjoy Super Moon as it rises higher into the sky where it will be clearer due to thinner atmosphere.


  1. i just stumbled across this! i am very much an astronomy enthusiast! the field in singapore in really small. but thank you! thank you for your blog updates and sharing your expertise!

    1. Thanks! Let's make this niche mainstream in the following years by spreading the word about astronomical events in Singapore!

  2. Thank you for writing this blog. I am very blessed that my bedroom's window is able to view the moon on many nights that are clear. I will surely try tracing it out on my window:)

    1. Thanks! Great bedroom window view! If you can view Moon, it implies the planets too! Time to get a kick-ass lunar/planetary telescope in your bedroom!

  3. will the supermoon occur again on June 24? cause i missed the it ):

  4. The Moon tonight is only very slightly less full and bright than Super Moon yesterday at 7:32pm. Still bigger and brighter than most full moon at non-perigee locations. So have fun observing it! In fact, one can enjoy observing the Moon throughout its phases as long as the sky is clear enough. :)

  5. But can everyone in Singapore see the supermoon at any place? reply ASAP please. ):

    1. If the sky is clear enough and you have an unobstructed view of the path of the Moon across the sky, then you should be able to see it.