3.20.2011

Moon Makes Closest Approach to Earth in Nearly 20 Years

The moon is making its closest approach to Earth in nearly two decades and will appear to skygazers to be larger than normal.

As the sun sets around the globe on Saturday, many sky watchers may think the rising moon looks unusually large, and brighter, too.

The reason is that the moon's orbit around the Earth is elliptical. And not since 1993 has the moon passed as close to Earth as it will Saturday night.

It also happens to coincide with the astronomical phase of the full moon, giving everyone who looks skyward a rarely seen spectacle of illumination and size.

The result is what astronomers call a “supermoon.”

The U.S. space agency says it will appear as if the moon is about 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter than normal.

But if the sky is cloudy, it will be another 19 years or so before the same phenomenon can be seen again.
Experts also say it is not true that supermoons cause natural disasters.


Source:  http://blogs.voanews.com/breaking-news/2011/03/19/moon-makes-closest-approach-to-earth-in-nearly-20-years/



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