By Justin Drabick

The night sky will be much brighter this weekend as the year’s biggest full moon will occur on Saturday night at 11:35 PM.  Sky watchers will view a bigger and brighter moon, called the super moon.  The super moon happens when the full moon coincides with the moon’s perigee – its closest approach to Earth.  This occurs because the moon’s orbit is not a perfect circle around the Earth.

This month’s full moon happens to occur very close to perigee, making it 16% brighter than normal, 2% brighter than the March 2011 super moon.  On Saturday night, viewers will get to see the moon at its closest approach this year, 221,802 miles from Earth.

The best time to look is when the moon is low in the sky, after it rises (7:49 PM Sat) or before it sets (6:03 AM Sun).  At these times, you can see the moon behind objects, creating the illusion of a larger moon.  The super moon will have a stronger gravitational pull, resulting in higher than normal tides but nothing to be alarmed about.

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