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'Super' Moon Will Glow in Weekend Sky
May 2, 2012
By WeatherBug Meteorologist, Chad Merrill

If you enjoy watching the night sky, you`ll get an extra added treat this weekend. The moon will appear much larger and closer to Earth! The scary "super moon" will glow proud in the sky on Saturday, May 5th.
The biggest full moon of the year will occur Saturday night at approximately 11:35 p.m. EDT. It will appear 14-percent brighter and 30-percent larger than the average full moon being within 221,802 miles of the Earth. The last full moon of this magnitude was just over a year ago, in March 2011; before that, it happened in 1993.

Why will the moon appear so large? To understand that, consider how the moon takes around the Earth. It doesn`t move in a perfect circle but rather an elliptical path. This means there are times when the moon and sun are closer to one another and farther apart.
There are three or four times a year the full moon coincides with its closest approach to the Earth; this is called the perigee. When it happens, due to the gravitational pull of the moon on the Earth, tides increase by a few inches. The much more noticeable effect of the perigee is how the moon appears in the sky.
A perigee moon appears much larger and closer to the Earth and the moonrise a lot more intriguing to the human eye, although this is caused by an optical illusion.
In order to see the moon, the sky has to be clear. Looking ahead to Saturday night, the Great Basin, Southwest, southern Plains and Great Lakes stand the best chance at optimal viewing weather for the perigee moon.
The full moon that will coincide with the moon`s farthest point from the Earth (called the "apogee") will occur on November 28th. Unlike the "super moon" associated with perigee this weekend, it will appear small and only dim, not glow with slightly lower tides. During this point in the moon`s orbit around the Earth, the moon is 251,968 miles from Earth compared to its average of 238,000 miles.

Will the sky be clear enough where you live to see the full moon this weekend? Be sure to keep WeatherBug active to see the latest forecast, receive the latest weather in your neighborhood and get the latest updates anywhere on Twitter.
Story image: The `Super` full moon is seen as it rises near the Lincoln Memorial, Saturday, March 19, 2011, in Washington, D.C. Photo Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls
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