'Supermoon' treat for sky gazers | delhi | Hindustan Times
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'Supermoon' treat for sky gazers

A full moon of rare size and enormous beauty will rise in the east at sunset today - the biggest in almost 20 years.

delhi Updated: Mar 19, 2011 14:49 IST

A full moon of rare size and enormous beauty will rise in the east at sunset on Saturday - the biggest in almost 20 years.

If it's not cloudy, Saturday skygazers will be able to glimpse the "supermoon". The point in the moon's orbit will be nearest to the Earth for the first time in 18 years.

And while it might yank on some tides, the super "perigee moon" won't trigger natural disasters or werewolf uprisings.

As it cosies in to a mere 220,000 miles away, the moon will appear 14 per cent larger and 30 per cent brighter than a most distant full moon.

"The last full Moon so big and close to Earth occurred in March of 1993," said Geoff Chester of the US Naval Observatory in Washington DC. "I'd say it's worth a look."

Full Moons vary in size because of the oval shape of the Moon's orbit. It is an ellipse with one side (perigee) about 50,000 km closer to Earth than the other (apogee).

Nearby perigee moons are about 14 per cent bigger and 30 per cent brighter than lesser moons that occur on the apogee side of the Moon's orbit.

"The full Moon of March 19th occurs less than one hour away from perigee--a near-perfect coincidence1 that happens only 18 years or so," added Chester.

The best time to look is when the Moon is near the horizon. That is when illusion mixes with reality to produce a truly stunning view.