Food for thought Partial LUNAR and SOLAR eclipses in june 2012 (rajab) Slew of sky pageants this month Wam / 2 June 2012 The moon will be on its perigee, or the closest approach to the earth, on June 3 and the biggest and the brightest “super moon” will be born at sunset on June 4, researchers said. Besides the moon’s perigee coinciding with the full moon in June, this perigee will be the nearest to Earth this year, Ibrahim Al-Jarwan, a researcher at Sharjah Planetarium, said. The moon will position itself at a distance of 358000 kilometres from the earth, offering sky gazers a spectacular view of an extra-big, extra-bright moon, nicknamed a super moon. On June 4, a partial lunar eclipse will occur over the Indian Ocean but will not be visible in Arab countries. Lunar eclipses occur when the moon orbits behind the earth with respect to the sun, and the planet’s shadow blocks light from the sun that would otherwise hit the moon. Since only a fraction of the moon will be covered in shadow on June 4, astronomers call it a partial lunar eclipse, Al-Jarwan said. The lineup of sky shows will be capped by the transit of Venus at 8.30am UAE local time on June 6 when it will move directly between the earth and the sun in a rare spectacle that will not be visible again until 2117. It is like a solar eclipse, but Venus blocks the sun instead of the moon. The last time it occurred was on June 8, 2004. Transits of Venus are very rare, coming in pairs separated by more than a hundred years. This June’s transit, the bookend of a 2004-2012 pair, won’t be repeated until 2117. The Summer Solstice this year will occur on June 21 as the sun will be at its highest path through the sky and the day is the longest.