Super Moon to Appear on Saturday | NECN

Super Moon to Appear on Saturday

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The moon will be as close as it gets to Earth on Saturday at 11:34 p.m. (Published Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014)

    (NECN: Greg Wayland) - In science and in song, it's no small wonder we're enchanted by that big wonder overhead.

    "It's a bright object in the sky," said Quinn Sykes of Boston University's Astronomy Department. "People have been watching it for eons."

    And we might be super-enchanted at 11:34 p.m. on Saturday night. That's when the moon will be close as it gets at peregee (as opposed to apogee), which is about 222,000 miles away from our planet.

    "You know, the moon's orbit isn't exactly circular," said John Retterer, a Boston College astronomer. "It's elliptical, which is sort of like a squashed circle."

    A minute later - at 11:35 p.m. - the moon will line up with the sun and be full, creating a so-called super moon, looking about 15 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter.

    A peregee, or super moon, isn't that rare. In fact, it happened last year on March 19, and was even a little bigger then.
     
    And with no yardstick in the sky, it may be hard to see the difference.

    The super moon may be most super as it's rising.

    "You get to see the moon with the backdrop and you've got the silhouette of the buildings or the mountains and it looks huge and looming and large," said Sykes.

    Otherwise, if skies are clear, will will anyone but astronomers or lovers take note?

    "I don't think so," said Retterer.

    So just how super this moon is may be in the eye of the moon-gazer, or the beholder. For most of us, the moon is always worth looking at, especially when it's full.

    "It's a beautiful object and people are entranced by it," said Sykes.