Palestine Looks Up to Gaze at Extra Bright ‘Supermoon’ in Campus

On Monday, November 14, 2016, more than six-hundred participants gathered at the Michel and Sanieh Hakim Observatory planetarium in Birzeit University, to watch the biggest and brightest full moon since 1948 as it reaches its closest point to Earth to form what is known as "super moon".

Organized by the Physics Department, and Birzeit University student astronomy club, the audience used the first advanced telescope in the country in the observatory inaugurated last year, on September, 2015.

The night was exceptional; the moon was 221, 524 miles from our planet, compared with an average distance of 238, 900 miles, which made it appear 30 percent brighter, and 14 percent bigger.  The last time the moon sailed this close to Earth was in 1948, and the next time won't be until 2034, when the distance between the two bodies will be 40 miles less.

During the night, a lecture on the "oddities of the solar system" was presented, in addition to interactive presentations delivered by the astronomy's club students that explained the rare moon event.

According to physics professor Wafaa Khater and the astronomy club supervisor, the moon was completely full at 3:42 PM and it started to rise above the horizon at 4:57 PM based on Jerusalem time. Astronomers call this phenomenon a perigee full moon, which describes the moon's closest point to Earth.