Photo: March 19 Full Moon
Tonight the moon will be closer to the Earth than it has been for 18 years.
“It’s going to be big and really bright,” said NASA astronomer Dave Williams. “It should be noticeably brighter than a normal full moon.”
Full moons come in different sizes because of the elliptical shape of the moon’s orbit—one side of the ellipse is about 31,000 miles closer to Earth than the other. When the moon is closest to Earth (at its perigee), it is 14 percent larger and 30 percent brighter than when it’s farthest from the planet (at its apogee).
For weeks, the rare full moon has sparked interest online, with astrologers and amateur astronomers speculating that the “supermoon” could lead to unusual weather. After Japan’s earthquake, some even wondered if the supermoon contributed to the event.