Where to witness the ‘supermoon’ in Switzerland

Skywatchers should head above the clouds on Monday evening to see the ‘supermoon’ at its best, according to a Swiss meteorologist.

Where to witness the ‘supermoon’ in Switzerland
File photo: Juan Barreto/AFP

With clouds covering much of the country, the weather is hardly ideal for catching a glimpse of the moon, which will appear bigger than it has done since 1948.

Supermoons occur when the moon, which orbits the Earth in an elliptical shape, is closest to our planet. On Monday the moon will be closer than it has been since 1948 – only 356,509 kilometres away – and will also be full.  

The moon could appear up to 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter.

Early-birds could have seen the supermoon on Monday morning between 6.45am and 7am, but only above 1,600m altitude, meteorologist Ludwig Zgraggen told news agency ATS.

There will another chance in the early evening, when the moon rises between 5.15pm and 5.30pm, he said.

Generally the moon appears bigger when it is low in the sky.

But city-dwellers may miss out this time. The weather will be most favourable above 1,500m altitude in the Jura, Valais, Graubünden and on the south side of the Alps, said Zgraggen.

And if you aren't lucky enough to catch a glimpse, you'll have a long wait. The next time the moon is expected to be this close to the Earth is in 2034.

Image: MeteoSuisse

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2022 sees record wildfire destruction in Europe: EU

Europe's blistering summer may not be over yet, but 2022 is already breaking records, with nearly 660,000 hectares ravaged since January, according to the EU's satellite monitoring service.

2022 sees record wildfire destruction in Europe: EU

And while countries on the Mediterranean have normally been the main seats of fires in Europe, this year, other countries are also suffering heavily.

Fires this year have forced people to flee their homes, destroyed buildings and burned forests in EU countries, including Austria, Croatia, France, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain.

Some 659,541 hectares (1.6 million acres) have been destroyed so far, data from the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS) showed, setting a record at this point in the year since data collection began in 2006.

Europe has suffered a series of heatwaves, forest fires and historic drought that experts say are being driven by human-induced climate change.

They warn more frequent and longer heatwaves are on the way.

The worst-affected country has been Spain, where fire has destroyed 244,924 hectares, according to EFFIS data.

The EFFIS uses satellite data from the EU’s Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS).

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How the climate crisis is hitting Europe hard

The data comes after CAMS said Friday that 2022 was a record year for wildfire activity in southwestern Europe and warned that a large proportion of western Europe was now in “extreme fire danger”.

“2022 is already a record year, just below 2017,” EFFIS coordinator Jesus San-Miguel said. In 2017, 420,913 hectares had burned by August 13, rising to 988,087 hectares by the end of the year.

“The situation in terms of drought and extremely high temperatures has affected all of Europe this year and the overall situation in the region is worrying, while we are still in the middle of the fire season,” he said.

Since 2010, there had been a trend towards more fires in central and northern Europe, with fires in countries that “normally do not experience fires in their territory”, he added.

“The overall fire season in the EU is really driven mainly by countries in the Mediterranean region, except in years like this one, in which fires also happen in central and northern regions,” he added.