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‘Supermoon’ to grace the skies this weekend

In this Saturday, May 5, 2012 file photo, a "supermoon" rises behind the Temple of Poseidon in Cape Sounion, Greece, southeast of Athens. (Dimitri Messinis/AP)

It is ancient, alluring, and by both international treaty and the words of a well-known song, it belongs to all of us.

The moon this weekend will appear to be at its biggest and brightest of the this year, and it will be on view here. Not just the moon, but the “supermoon,” something special in the celestial realm.

This weekend, the moon makes its closest approach of the year to the Earth. This will happen Sunday morning within an hour of full moon. The combination makes for what has been dubbed a supermoon.

With a full moon coming to within about 221,000 miles of earth, it will appear about 15 percent brighter than average.

However, with no test moon available for comparison, it is not clear whether even a 15 percent upgrade in lunar wattage will be widely noticeable.

Yet, it will be worth a at least a glance. Little in the heavens has had more influence over the years on song, story and the human imagination. And as the song asserts: “The moon belongs to everyone.”

Possibly the best view will be shortly after midnight Saturday, in the early hours of Sunday morning. The moon will be at its highest point in the southern sky. And there will be less than eight hours before the two key moments: 2013’s instant of closest approach , and the instant when the always changing moon is perfectly full.


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