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Are you ready for the stunning super moon?

Last updated on: March 19, 2011 17:04 IST

Are you ready for the super moon?

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A full moon of rare size and enormous beauty will rise in the east at sunset on Saturday -- the biggest in almost 20 years. If it's not cloudy, sky-gazers will be able to glimpse the 'super moon' on Saturday.

The point in the moon's orbit will be nearest to the Earth for the first time in 18 years.


Image: The moon rises over the skyline of New York as people stand along Hudson River in Hoboken, New Jersey
Photographs: Gary Hershorn/Reuters
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And while it might yank on some tides, the super 'perigee moon' won't trigger natural disasters or werewolf uprisings.

As it cosies in to a mere 220,000 miles away, the moon will appear 14 per cent larger and 30 per cent brighter than a most distant full moon.


Image: The moon rises over the skyline of New York as a jogger runs along Hudson River in Hoboken, New Jersey
Photographs: Gary Hershorn/Reuters
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"The last full moon, so big and close to Earth, occurred in March of 1993. I would say it's worth a look," said Geoff Chester of the United States Naval Observatory in Washington DC.

Full moons vary in size because of the oval shape of the moon's orbit. It is an ellipse with one side (perigee) nearly 50,000 km closer to Earth than the other (apogee).


Image: The moon rises as people cross a street in Hoboken, New Jersey
Photographs: Gary Hershorn/Reuters
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Nearby perigee moons are about 14 per cent bigger and 30 per cent brighter than lesser moons that occur on the apogee side of the moon's orbit.

"The full moon of March 19 occurs less than one hour away from perigee -- a near -perfect coincidence that happens only once in 18 years or so," added Chester.

According to scientists, the best time to look is when the moon is near the horizon, when illusion mixes with reality to produce a truly stunning view.


Image: The moon rises over the skyline of New York as people stand along the Hudson River in Hoboken, New Jersey
Photographs: Gary Hershorn/Reuters
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