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Full 'supermoon' to brighten North America

May 5, 2012 at 10:04 AM   |   Comments

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WASHINGTON, May 5 (UPI) -- The biggest and brightest full moon of the year will light up the night sky over North America this weekend, NASA astronomers said.

The so-called perigee supermoon will appear 14 percent larger than the average full moon and also will be an estimated 30 percent brighter thanks to the moon's elliptical orbit.

Perigee full moons take place about once a year when the moon is closest to Earth. The moon's oval-shaped orbit means the perigee moon is about 31,000 miles closer to Earth than the apogee moon on the far end of the orbital path.

NASA said in a written statement the moon will reach its perigee point at 11:34 p.m. EDT; however, the best time for viewing the spectacle will be when the moon is rising above the horizon. An optical illusion caused in part by seeing the moon through trees and buildings can make it seem particularly large.

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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