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Space Watch Out for the Big, Bright Supermoon in the Night Sky this Weekend! (Video)

Watch Out for the Big, Bright Supermoon in the Night Sky this Weekend! (Video)

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First Posted: Jun 19, 2013 08:54 AM EDT
Moon
We may be getting a better look at our moon's south pole in 2015. The International Lunar Observatory Association and Moon Express are planning a first-ever mission to launch a telescope to the moon in 2015. The new instrument will rest on the lunar surface, taking images of stars, galaxies and planets. (Photo : NASA)

If you get a chance this weekend, look up. A supermoon is coming your way, and will be spectacular sight for those that get a clear view of the night sky. The brightest and largest supermoon that's due to appear this year, this is one spectacle you don't want to miss.

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The moon's orbit is egg-shaped, which means that it actually can appear closer or further away depending on where it is in the sky. Its shortest distance from Earth in its roughly month-long lunar cycle is known as perigree. Its furthest distance from Earth, in contrast, is known as apogee. Yet a supermoon doesn't always happen when a moon is at perigree.

"Supermoon" is actually a general term used to describe a full moon that occurs roughly the same time the moon is nearest Earth in its monthly orbit. It's a phrase that has only infiltrated the media relatively recently, coined by an astrologer--not an astronomer, according to EarthSky. Since the moon affects tides, a supermoon can actually cause a high-tide that's a few inches further up the shore than a high-tide during a normal moon, according to NASA.

This weekend's supermoon, which will peak on June 23 at 7:32 a.m., is set to be the closest to Earth it's been all year. The moon will be about 221,824 miles away, which is roughly 30,000 miles closer than it is at its furthest, according to Cnet. Because of this, the moon will appear about 14 percent larger and 30 percent brighter than a typical full moon, according to ABC7. Despite all of the hype, though, a lot of star gazers won't even be able to tell the difference between the supermoon we'll see and a regular full moon.

You'd better enjoy the moon while you can, though. We won't see a larger supermoon than this until September 28, 2015. And the largest supermoon until 2034 will occur on November 14, 2016.

Want to learn more about past supermoons and supermoons in general? Check out the video below, courtesy of YouTube.

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