Tue, Sep 22, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Storm could obscure ‘supermoon’

Monday MOON:Weather forecasts indicate that gazing upon the ‘supermoon’ phenomenon could prove difficult for those in the north and east of the nation

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

People in northern Taiwan interested in watching the rarely seen “supermoon” phenomenon during the Mid-Autumn Festival this weekend might be disappointed, because another tropical storm is forecast to form in the next two days, bringing clouds to the north and northeast.

The Mid-Autumn Festival falls on the first full moon of the eighth month of the lunar calendar, or Sept. 27 this year.

According to the Central Weather Bureau’s astronomical observatory, the supermoon will not occur the day of the Mid-Autumn Festival, which is on Sunday.

Instead, the observatory said the phenomenon would occur on Monday next week.

A “supermoon” occurs when a full moon or a new moon makes the closest approach to the Earth in its elliptical orbit, causing the lunar disk to appear the largest in size when viewed from the Earth.

The observatory said the supermoon this year falls very close to the Mid-Autumn Festival holiday, adding that such coincidence will not occur again until 2024.

However, the bureau’s weather forecast center said there is a chance that people in the north and east might not be able to see the rare sight due to a rise in the northeast monsoon and the imminent formation of a new tropical storm.

Chances of rain would be high if the storm is late in moving north, it added.

Former Central Weather Bureau weather forecast bureau director Daniel Wu (吳德榮) said the tropical storm could form in the next few days.

According to the forecast for the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, the tropical storm is forecast to move near the southern coast of Japan before moving north.

Residents in the north and east of Taiwan might be able to spy the supermoon between the clouds if the storm starts moving north before reaching 135° east longitude, he said.

However, the chances of seeing the supermoon would be very low if the storm starts moving north after crossing 135° east longitude, because the storm will increase the humidity carried by the northeast monsoon, Wu said.

That would also cause the clouds in the windward areas to be thicker, making it almost impossible to glimpse the supermoon.

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