Your Pics: Supermoon 2012 over Western skies

Your Pics: Supermoon 2012 over Western skies

Credit: Caleb Melvin

Your Pics: Supermoon 2012 over Western skies

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Posted on May 6, 2012 at 12:32 PM

Updated Sunday, Dec 22 at 5:48 PM

PHOENIX -- The moon appeared bigger and brighter than usual Saturday night as it passed closer to Earth than usual in what is called a supermoon.

On Saturday, the moon passed about 15,000 miles closer to Earth than average for Supermoon 2012.

The technical definition of a supermoon is the coincidence of a full moon with the closest approach the Moon makes to the Earth on its elliptical orbit, or perigee, leading to the technical name for a supermoon of the perigee-syzygy of the Earth-Moon-Sun system.

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

View Photos:  Supermoon 2012 over Western skies

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