Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with a 'Super-Sized' Moon in the Sky | KCET
Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with a 'Super-Sized' Moon in the Sky
[Update: View photos of the "supermoon" from all around California here]
This Saturday night's moon might look a lot bigger than usual. As NASA puts it, it could be "as much as 14% bigger and 30% brighter." That's because at 8:40 p.m. on May 5, the moon's oval orbit around earth will be at its closest, a phenomenon called perigee. To get technical, that's 17,056 miles closer than usual, explains Anthony Cook on his weekly Griffith Observatory Sky Report (In total, the moon's and the earth's centers will be close to 222,000 miles apart).
Yet Cook also says the media (that'd be us right here) like to make a big deal of this. "You will need to be very observant to notice any difference between this full moon and any other," he notes.
NASA seems to agree in the above video -- "Hanging high over head with no reference points to provide a sense of scale, one full moon can seem much like any other" -- but recommends checking earlier in the evening since, for unexplained reasons, "low-hanging moons look unnaturally large when they beam through trees, buildings, and other foreground objects."
If you're looking for some great night sky viewing spots in the California desert, check out our recommendations here.