A Super Moon Rises Saturday, Where's the Best Place to Watch it?

Full moon will be closest to Earth in nearly 20 years.

Grab your telescopes and cameras and head to the bluffs Saturday night. That’s when we’re in for another “Super Moon" that astronomers are saying will be even more super than usual.

“The last full moon so big and close to Earth occurred in March of 1993,” Geoff Chester of the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington D.C. told USA Today.

This Super Moon (a phrase coined by astrologer Richard Nolle in 1979) will appear especially large because the moment of perigee—when the moon is closest to the Earth in its monthly rotation—will coincide with the appearance of a perfectly full moon, Smithsonian points out. During last year’s Super Moon on March 19, 2011, for comparison, the perigee and full moon were 50 minutes apart.

On Saturday at 11:34 p.m. ET, the moon reaches full moon status—when the earth, moon and sun are all in alignment. One minute later, at 11:35 p.m., “perigee” will occur.

The best time to photograph a full moon though, experts say, is at “moonrise.” Moonrise on Saturday will take place at 7:55 p.m. When the moon is near the horizon, illusion mixes with reality to produce a truly stunning view, NASA reports. Low-hanging moons look unnaturally large when they beam through trees, buildings and other foreground objects.

The moon will be 221,802 miles away from Earth Saturday night; (the average distance is 238,855 according to NASA.) That’s 17,053 miles closer.

This all translates to a moon that will appear 14 percent larger and 30 percent brighter than other full moons this year, according to NASA. (An astronomer interviewed by National Geographic says 16 percent bigger.)

For anyone living close to water—a perigee full Moon brings with it extra-high “perigean tides,” but this is nothing to worry about, according to NOAA. Lunar gravity at perigee pulls tide waters only a few centimeters (an inch or so) higher than usual. Local geography can amplify the effect to about 6 inches.

Let us know in the comments where you plan to watch the Super Moon. And if you take any photos, be sure to add them to this post.

new guy May 04, 2012 at 04:25 PM
very cool. we will be up and taking pictures.
John Robertson May 05, 2012 at 12:37 PM
7:55 at the bluff! (With my Camera)
sherey olsen May 05, 2012 at 06:10 PM
What a wonderful web site I was looking for the moonrise time tonite and u gave me so much more thank u !!! I'll be back tomorrow with pictures.
John Brian Silverio May 05, 2012 at 10:09 PM
I might try the bluff as well.
John Brian Silverio May 06, 2012 at 02:39 AM
Just as I thought. Moon hid most of the time. It was already high and small by the time I saw it.


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