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Rare 'supermoon' will take over night sky Saturday

By Amy R. Connolly   |   Aug. 29, 2015 at 1:37 PM
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WASHINGTON, Aug. 29 (UPI) -- An exceptionally large and bright moon known as a "supermoon" will be visible around the world Saturday night as the moon makes a rare approach to Earth.

The moon will make its closest approach to Earth, known as perigee, at 222,631 miles away beginning sundown Saturday. It will appear about 14 percent larger than normal, experts said. On average, the moon is 238,855 miles away.

The supermoon is the first of three in the coming weeks, with the next two Sept. 27 and Oct. 27. The term "supermoon" was coined some 30 years ago by astrologer Richard Nolle. Before that, they were referred to as perigee full moons or perigee new moons.

The best view will be from the Canary Islands off the coast of Morocco, but sky watchers across the United States and the United Kingdom will be on alert.

With the rise and fall of tides connected to the gravitational pull of the moon, there has been some speculation the supermoon will usher in coastal flooding, especially in light of the tropical depression churning in the Gulf of Mexico.

"Coastal flooding and storm surge could be higher," Dan Kottlowski, a hurricane researcher for the Pennsylvania-based AccuWeather told the Palm Beach Post. "If Erika gets its act together and then you tack on what the tidal surge will be, it could impact the height of the water."

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