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Star Gazers around the World get to admire the Supermoon- Largest, Brightest Full Moon in nearly Seven Decades

The supermoon, also known as a blood moon, was produced when the shadow of Earth cast a reddish glow on the moon

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A jet plane flies across the moon seen from Beijing, China, Nov. 14, 2016. VOA

From Beijing to Berlin, star gazers around the world admired the supermoon — the largest, brightest full moon in nearly seven decades — as it made its way across the skies on Sunday and Monday.

In Australia, some sky-watchers climbed to the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge to get a closer view of the moon as it ducked between the clouds over the city. Astronomers said it was closer to Earth than at any time since 1948.

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The supermoon, also known as a blood moon, was produced when the shadow of Earth cast a reddish glow on the moon, the result of a rare combination of an eclipse with the closest full moon of the year.

For more than an hour on Sunday night and early on Monday morning, Earth’s shadow blanketed the full moon as the planet passed between the sun and the moon.

Two Iranian women watch the moon rising over Tehran in Iran, Nov. 14, 2016. VOA
Two Iranian women watch the moon rising over Tehran in Iran, Nov. 14, 2016. VOA

The brilliant white glow of the moon slowly transformed into a dim red, a coloring caused by Earth’s atmosphere scattering sunlight into the shadow.

“I think the last time I can remember this sort of [activity] is when I was very small, when Hale-Bopp came. Back then my parents took me [to watch],” said Hsieh Wei-Ting, 36, who lined up with scores of people in Taipei to look at the moon through telescopes in the Taiwanese capital. “It was like climbing a mountain to look at the stars.”

In New York City, the Chrysler Building lit up when the supermoon set behind the Art Deco-style skyscraper, and photographers captured the moon rising over the U.S. Capitol dome in Washington D.C.

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In Boston, real estate agent Jamie Iacoi filmed video from his roof deck on Sunday.

“At one point, the planes were flying right through the middle of the moon. It was so cool to see in person,” Iacoi said.

Spectators lined up in France, Israel and Germany to watch the moon rise behind famous monuments like the Eiffel Tower, Dormition Abbey, and the Brandenburg Gate.

The full moon also shone over Jakarta in Indonesia and Thailand’s Bangkok while in the Philippines, park-goers watched the spectacle in Manila.

The next supermoon-lunar eclipse combination will not happen until 2033. (VOA)

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Astronomers Measure Mass of Milky Way Galaxy

The Milky Way, the galaxy which contains Earth's solar system, is home to up to 400 billion stars and an estimated 100 billion planets.

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The measurement includes all the stars and planets, dust and gas, as well as the four-million-solar-mass supermassive black hole at the center. Pixabay

Using data from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and the European Space Agency’s Gaia satellite, astronomers have come up with one of the most accurate measurements of mass of the Milky Way galaxy.

While previous research dating back several decades provided estimates for our galaxy’s mass, ranging between 500 billion to three trillion solar masses, according to the latest measurements, Milky Way weighs about 1.5 trillion solar masses (one solar mass is the mass of our Sun).

The measurement includes all the stars and planets, dust and gas, as well as the four-million-solar-mass supermassive black hole at the center.

“We want to know the mass of the Milky Way more accurately so that we can put it into a cosmological context and compare it to simulations of galaxies in the evolving universe,” said Roeland van der Marel of the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Maryland.

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The more massive a galaxy, the faster its globular clusters move under the pull of gravity, according to a forthcoming paper in The Astrophysical Journal. Pixabay

To weigh the galaxy, the team augmented Gaia measurements for 34 globular clusters out to 65,000 light-years, with Hubble measurements of 12 clusters out to 130,000 light-years that were obtained from images taken over a 10-year period.

They also measured the three-dimensional movement of globular star clusters – isolated spherical islands each containing hundreds of thousands of stars each that orbit the center of our galaxy.

The more massive a galaxy, the faster its globular clusters move under the pull of gravity, according to a forthcoming paper in The Astrophysical Journal.

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The new mass estimate puts our galaxy on the beefier side, compared to other galaxies in the universe. The lightest galaxies are around a billion solar masses, while the heaviest are 30 trillion, or 30,000 times more massive.

The Milky Way, the galaxy which contains Earth’s solar system, is home to up to 400 billion stars and an estimated 100 billion planets. (IANS)