'Supermoon' on the rise this weekend

'Supermoon' on the rise this weekend

Credit: AstroDynamics.net

'Supermoon' on the rise this weekend

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by April Warnecke

Bio | Email | Follow: @AprilWarnecke

azfamily.com

Posted on March 17, 2011 at 11:32 AM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 30 at 7:55 AM

PHOENIX -- It's a bird! It's a plane! No-- it's a supermoon!

Look to the eastern sky Saturday night to catch a glimpse of the astronomical treat. This weekend's full moon will make its closest approach to Earth in 18 years. That means the moon could look bigger and brighter than usual.

While it can be amazing to see, some also fear a super moon can trigger natural disasters. If you Google "supermoon" you'll find all sorts of theories that tie supermoons to volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and tsunamis. Astronomers, however, aren't worried at all.

Super moonThe supermoon is a normal part of the moon's orbit around Earth. Because of small fluctuations in that oval-shaped orbit, the moon will be about 8 percent closer to Earth than it usually would be at that point in orbit. That means it will look huge, about 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter than full moons occurring on the opposite side the orbit, according to NASA.

Natural disasters have occurred before during supermoons, but scientists believe that's just a coincidence.

According to NASA and NOAA, the most notable effect of a supermoon, which NASA calls a “perigee moon,” could be extra-high tides -- between 1 and 6 inches higher than normal.

According to NASA, the best to time look will be when the moon is near the horizon.

“For reasons not fully understood by astronomers or psychologists, low-hanging Moons look unnaturally large when they beam through trees, buildings and other foreground objects," wrote Dr. Tony Phillips on the Science@NASA website.

Combine the “moon illusion” with the supermoon and the view should be spectacular.

Partly cloudy skies are in the forecast Saturday night, so head out and take a look.

The moon will rise at about 7 p.m. and set at about 6 a.m. A good time to take a gander will be just before the sun comes up Sunday morning.

If you snap a picture, be sure to send it to us at weather@azfamily.com or upload it to YouNews here on azfamily.com.

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