Biggest full moon in 18 years expected to occur Saturday night

15:42, March 19, 2011      

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The moon will move closer to Earth than it has been in more than 18 years Saturday night, space. com reported on Friday.

On Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (1900 MGT) , the "supermoon", as dubbed by some observers, will arrive at its closest point to the Earth in 2011: a distance of 221,565 miles ( 356,575 kilometers) away, and only 50 minutes earlier, the moon will officially be full, the report said.

At its peak, the supermoon may appear 14 percent larger and 30 percent brighter than lesser full moons (when the moon is at its farthest from Earth), weather permitting, said the report.

Yet to the casual observer, it may be hard to tell the difference, according to the report.

Scientists say it is a fluke of orbital mechanics that brings the moon closer to Earth.

The supermoon will not cause natural disasters, such as the Japan earthquake, NASA scientists say.

In December 2008, there was a near-supermoon when the moon turned full four hours away from its perigee - the point in its orbit that is closest to Earth. But this month, the full moon and perigee are just under one hour apart, promising spectacular views, depending on local conditions, the report said.

Source: Xinhua
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