Saturday, March 19, 2011

Behold Super Moon

Posted By on Sat, Mar 19, 2011 at 12:17 PM

It's a big weekend ... for astronomers. Sure, there's the NCAA basketball tournament but the real madness is in the skies. While the vernal equinox arrives early Sunday, heralding the arrival of Spring, the real excitement is surrounding "Super Moon."

The moon comes closest to earth once every 18 years because of the sun's gravitational pull. That just happens to coincide with a full moon that will be bigger and brighter than normal tonight. Sometime this afternoon, the moon will be 221,565 miles away, and that's as close as it ever gets.

Astronomers predict the "Super Moon" will appear 14 percent larger and 30 percent brighter than traditional full moons, weather permitting. The moon, about a quarter the size of Earth, may also influence some of the highest and lowest ocean tides with its proximity.

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