If you’re heading out this evening (Saturday), glance up at the sky to behold the first of three supermoons (it’s the big white ball in the sky) set to light up the ether over the next few months. Better known to scientists as a "perigee moon", the phenomenon occurs when the orbit of earth’s ancient satellite reaches the closest point on its elliptical orbit.
This proximity makes a supermoon look far more impressive than a typical full moon, much bigger and brighter… like the Death Star orbiting Tatooine. "Generally speaking, full moons occur near perigee every 13 months and 18 days, so it’s not all that unusual," Geoff Chester of the US Naval Observatory told NASA Science News, adding: "In fact, just last year there were three perigee Moons in a row, but only one was widely reported."
Saturday's supermoon will be around 30,000 miles closer to the earth than at the furthest point on its orbit (the "apogee moon") – around 222,611 miles from the home planet. In August, it’ll be even closer at around 221,748 miles from earth, a phenomenon that already has moon buffs hugely enthused.