If tonight (Sunday June 23rd) the full moon looks a little larger than normal, it is! In fact it is so big that scientists call it a supermoon. And while this phenomenon occurs annually, this year is extra special because the moon is as close as it can get to earth, which means that it will appear even bigger and brighter than most years.
Scientists estimate that thanks to the proximity to earth or perigee as they call it, tonight's moon will appear an astounding 12% bigger and 30% brighter and the best part is, that weather permitting, it will be visible from all over the world. The last time a moon this size was seen, was in 1993.
Perigee or the distance from the Earth to the moon varies because of the moon's elliptical orbit. Sometimes it brings it closer during full moon, other times a little further and still others so close that experts call it a super perigee! And though it may seem really close, the maximum the distance between the earth and its satellite can vary, is the length of the earth's diameter. While that may seem a lot, it is not that much, considering that the moon is 30 earth diameters away from earth - which means that at its closest it is 29 earth diameters away.
Though some people believe that the proximity results in earthquakes and tidal waves, scientists have found no correlation. They maintain that all the supermoon does is provide an opportunity to take and share gorgeous pictures and reflect on how lucky we are, to be on this planet.
Resources: news.yahoo.com, livescience.com