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'Supermoon' Science: Biggest Full Moon of 2013 Explained

By Miriam Kramer | SPACE.com


Skywatcher Roberto Porto took this photo of the biggest full moon of 2012, a so-called supermoon, in Costa Adeje, Tenerife, Spain, on May 5, 2012.


The full moon is seen as it rises near the Lincoln Memorial, Saturday, March 19, 2011, in Washington. The full moon tonight is called a super perigee moon since it is at its closest to Earth in 2011. The last full moon so big and close to Earth

There is more to a "supermoon" than meets the eye.

Science governs the appearance of the largest full moon of the year, and this weekend you can check out the amazing lunar sight for yourself.

On Sunday (June 23), the moon will be at its closest point to Earth — called perigee. This relatively close brush will happen as the moon enters its fullest phase, creating the cosmic coincidence known as the supermoon. At its fullest and closest, the moon will appear about 12 percent larger in the sky. [Amazing Supermoon Photos of 2012]

"It doesn't matter where you are, the full moon you're seeing will be the biggest for 2013," Michelle Thaller, the assistant director of science at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center said. "… That 12 percent size different can mean as much as a 30 percent change in the brightness, so this will be a particularly bright supermoon."

How to see the supermoon

Weather permitting, everybody should be able to see the supermoon. The moon will be rising from the east right around sunset, Thaller said. It will appear huge and low on the horizon before rising brightly into the sky for the night. Saturday and Sunday should both be ideal viewing opportunities.

You can also watch a live webcast of the supermoon on SPACE.com beginning on Sunday beginning at 9 p.m. EDT (0100 June 24 GMT), courtesy of the online Slooh Space Camera, an online skywatching website (http://www.slooh.com). ...more



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