Yes if you saw a mostly full moon Saturday night it did appear larger and brighter than usual. It was your first glimpse of the first 2020 supermoon which is at its fullest on Monday, March 9 at 1:48 p.m. EDT. However, it’s fine to look for it Sunday night.
The reason it looks larger is because its elliptical course brings it closer to earth on March 9.. The close point is called the perigee as opposed to the far point which is the apogee.
At 222.081 miles from earth it looms large but the next full moon an April 8 will be even closer at 221,851 miles.
This March supermoon has several nicknames including the “Worm Moon” because worms are said to begin to come out of the soil about this time.
They start work midweek when snow is delivered to their stations in the Riviera Plaza , 812 Wrigley Drive abutting Geneva Lake (Yes, that is the lake’s name).
The teams sculpt their creations through Friday night to be ready for the judging after the “tools down” bell at 11 a.m. Saturday. Visitors can vote for the People’s Choice Award, Saturday until 2 p.m.
The snow sculptures are amazing but also stay to see ice sculptures in town. Youngsters may want to stop at a children’s tent at 201 Wrigley Dr. in Flat Iron Park where there are games and the Boy Scouts are selling cider donuts and hot dogs.
Visitors who stay over Saturday will want to see the free Laser Light Show on the ski slopes of the Grand Geneva Resort, just south of the downtown at WI7036 Grand Geneva Way.
If you are north in the northern hemisphere and don’t have a cloudy or rainy night, look up after midnight after the waxing gibbous moon sets to catch the Quadrantid Meteor Shower.
The Quadrantids typically send out 25 meteorites an hour during its peak time which in 2020 is very early in the a.m. Jan. 4 and go on for a very short duration. For Central Time watchers best viewing after the moon sets would be about 2 a.m.
Where to look
Look northeast. Find the Big Dipper then look down to Arcturus, a giant red star at the bottom of the Bootes Constellation. Scientists say it is best to then look just slightly away from it to catch the long tails of the Quadrantids.
What are the Quadrantids
They are considered to come from the asteroid 2003 EHI which may have been a comet or a part of one.
Where to find more meteor shower information
The American Meteor Society, around for more than a century, has an easy to understand web site that tells what meteor showers are happening now and in the near future and what the moon phase will be for each of them.
Yes, the moon phase matters. The brightness of a full or nearly full moon makes it harder to see tmeteors flying across the sky.
The American Meteor Society, around for more than a century, has an easy to understand web site, tells when the next meteor shower is coming and what the moon phase will be then. Yes the moon does matter. The brightness of a full and even half moon, make it harder to see meteors flying across the sky.
Stay up and look up for the late, late light show . It’s the Geminid meteor shower happening now. So think about where you can go to watch without interference from stores and street lights.
The annual spectacular night show (120 meteors per hour) peaks about 2 a.m. so that really means staying up very late, tonight, Dec. 12 into very, very early tomorrow morning or very late Friday Dec. 13 into very, very early Saturday a.m.
The problem this year, 2019, is the full moon. We’re always talking about finding a spot away from city and street lights. But have no suggestion for dimming down moon light.
However, maybe you will get lucky and a cloud will move across the moon. Or turn your back on the moon and watch the sky away from that bright orb. Or try again very late Saturday night, early, early Sunday morning when the moon might still be bright but not quite as full.
Or turn Geminid watching into a party because the more people “star” gazing, the more likely someone will see a meteor.
BTW, the Geminids are not like the other meteor showers in that the meteorites zooming across the sky are not debris from a comet. They are coming from an ancient asteroid called the 3200 Phaethon. Although sometimes it’s called a “rock comet.”
As to the 2 a.m. watching time, the hour is when the constellation Gemini (The Twins), which is the area or radiant point from where the meteors seem to come, has moved high in the sky. It will seem as if the Geminids are coming from Castor, a bright star in the constellation.
Look up! If the night sky is clear where you live watch for the Oronids, a major meteor shower produced by the debris from Halley’s comet.
Named for Orion the Hunter because the meteors seem to radiate from the constellation, the Orionids have been already shooting across the sky and will do so into November. But they are peaking now through Oct. 22.
They have been known to shoot across the sky at 80 an hour but according to Bill Cooke a NASA they are likely to number from 30 to 40 per hour. They are very fast 148,000 mph so watch carefully.
The question is how much a factor is the moon which has waned to its half-phase. The full Hunters Moon has already passed but moonlight may make a difference. However, go to a spot without streetlights and commercial buildings. You won’t want binoculars because you are watching the whole sky.
If looking up before dawn Sunday, May 6, 2019 you may “catch” a falling star, except it really would be one of the Eta Aquarids meteorites.
Between 30 to 50 of these meteorites, seemingly shooting from a poin(the radiant) just north of Aquarius, is a shower of debris from the Halley Comet. The second Halley Comet meteor shower is the Orionids which peak about Oct. 20.
Where to look east by south east past (east of) Pegasus north of Aquarius
Need away from street and commercial lights. Should be good viewing, new moon had may 4 so just emerging into first quarter.
After a bruising winter it’s time to go to a town that celebrates brightly colored flowers with dancing, art, music and windmill-ground flour. No passport needed.
It’s Holland, MI where everything Dutch is celebrated year ’round but where when May comes tulips line the streets and the town is in festival mode.
Plan now to visit because accommodations fill fast. Tulip Time is May 4 through May 12, 2019. Week days are less crowded but to catch the events you want, check the schedule. To see the schedule visit Tulip Time events.
Dutch dances begin May 2, Tulip Town Tours, the artisan market and Art in Bloom, Tall ships, Tulip Time Quilt show are May 4. But many of these events continue through the festival.
Tip: Don’t limit your time to just the main festival site.
My favorite stop is Windmill Island Gardens on the edge of the downtown. It has a real, from-Holland, working Dutch windmill. There is also an antique children’s carousel and replica Dutch buildings. For Tulip time there is a Dutch Trade Fair and Dutch food.
Dining. I haven’t had a bad meal there. Among my faves are Alpenrose Restaurant and Curragh Irish Pub.But walkthe main street, 8th Street, and explore. There are lots of boutiques and good restaurants plus good sculptures to see and photograph.