Rare ‘Super Moon' Rising This Weekend
Astrologer Richard Nolle coined the term, “Super Moon,” 30 years ago to describe the extra large, full moon rising this weekend. It will be something special – a great look at the “biggest” moon in 20 years.
“Super Moon” describes a new or full moon occurring at the same time the Moon comes within 90 percent of its closest approach to Earth in a given orbit. It’s an event that happens 4-6 times a year, but according to a NASA Science News story, Saturday night's full moon nearly coincided with the moon's arrival at its closet point in its orbit around the Earth, resulting in the biggest, visible full moon in North America in two decades.
"The last full Moon so big and close to Earth occurred in March of 1993," Geoff Chester of the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington D.C. said in the recent NASA Science News story. "I'd say it's worth a look."
Officially, a “Super Moon” is called a "perigee moon.”
"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.
Full moons vary in size because of the moon’s oval shape, according to the article. The moon is an ellipse with one side [perigee] about 50,000 km closer to Earth than the other [apogee]. Perigee moons are about 14 percent larger and 30 percent brighter than non-perigee moons – if the weather cooperates.
The forecast this evening, according to the National Weather Service, calls for clear skies over Dundalk.
Here is the link to the NASA Science News story.
Perigee moons are also known to cause higher tides, but nothing to worry about. And, despite talk on the Internet, there is no risk of any natural disasters because of the moon, NASA said.
If you want to try and see the moon at its best, take a look outside when the Moon is near the horizon in the early evening. That is when illusion mixes with reality to produce an incredible view, according to NASA. It will appear close enough to touch.
A super perigee Moon is still 356,577 km away, according to NASA.
“That is, it turns out, a distance of rare beauty,” wrote NASA scientiest Tony Philips.