Where's a great spot to grab your telescopes and cameras and look to the heavens Saturday night to see the biggest "Super Moon" in 20 years?
Astronomers are saying that this Super Moon will be even more super than usual, and we think there are a couple good stargazing spots in Rosemont... Or moongazing, in this case. Tell us in the comments where your favorite spot it.
And if you get photos of the moon Saturday, come back to Patch and post them on this article.
“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 8:34 p.m. PST, the moon reaches full moon status—when the earth, moon and sun are all in alignment. One minute later, at 8:35 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.
Will the weather cooperate though? The National Weather Service is calling for clear skies, with a low around 48 degrees Saturday night.
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 all of us living close to the American River—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.
Patch plans to post a photo gallery of the Super Moon with photos from our readers late Saturday night. Come back to Patch Saturday night or Sunday and add your photos to our community gallery.