05 May 2012

Supermoon to shine Saturday Night

Look! Up in the sky! Is it a space ship arriving from another galaxy? An elaborate Stephen Spielberg movie prop? An interstellar pizza pie? No, it’s Supermoon!

Scientists call it a perigee moon, a phenomenon that happens once a year when the moon, which has an elliptical orbit, makes its closest approach to the Earth. This year’s version will rise in the sky on Saturday night, achieving perigee status at 11:34 p.m. EDT. It will be 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter, according to the folks at NASA.

The best time for a little moon-bathing will be a minute later, at 11:35 p.m., when the Earth, moon and sun line up to maximize the moon’s brilliance.

Tony Phillips, the Mr. Wizard of NASA, notes that all the myths about hospital admissions increasing, crime running rampant and people behaving strangely are just that — myths. “The truth is, the moon is less influential than folklore would have us believe.”

The last supermoon, which occurred on March 19, 2011, received lots of media attention because it was 400 kilometers closer than the one will be on Saturday night.

But conditions should be ideal for viewing as National Weather Service forecasters in Miami predict a perfect night with partly cloudy skies and a low near 70. There will be a balmy breeze out of the south at 9 mph.

The moon will rise on Saturday night at 6:34 p.m. and set at 5:59 a.m. Sunday morning, according to the U.S. Naval Observatory.

Source: Palm Beach News. Photo ©hplang50 

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