Skip to comments.‘Supermoon’, Meteor Shower Set For Saturday Night
Posted on 05/04/2012 10:53:49 AM PDT by BenLurkin
LOS ANGELES (CBS) Theres going to be a party in the sky on Cinco de Mayo.
Thanks to a phenomenon not yet fully understood by scientists, the moon will appear as a gigantic orb in the sky on Saturday night as it makes its way across the evening sky.
The so-called supermoon will make its appearance above the Southland at shortly before 9:00 p.m., when the moon will officially become full as well make its closest approach to Earth in 18 years at roughly 221,800 miles away.
At its peak, the moon will appear up to 30 percent brighter and 14 percent bigger than the dullest moons.
The last time the phenomenon occurred was back in March of 2011 when the moon was about 240 miles closer to Earth than it will be during this years approach.
Dr. Ed Krupp, the longtime director of the Griffith Observatory, told KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO that despite the celestial rarity, most skywatchers will be unable to distinguish the sight from a regular full moon.
It is a little closer, it is a little brighter, but the eye is really not able to detect the difference, said Krupp.
Krupp said what will undoubtedly be the largest full moon of 2012 is also an illusion.
Our eyes and brain, for reasons unknown, are wired to make angles bigger at the horizon, so everybody knows that the moon looks huge at the horizon and not when its higher, but if you actually measure that with instruments, its actually always the same, he said.
In addition to the supermoon, the Aquarid meteor shower which occurs every spring when Earth passes through the debris field left in the wake of Halleys Comet will make its biggest show on Saturday night and into Sunday morning.
Krupp, however, predicted that the moon might be so bright it could wash out the meteor shower.
Its going to be very difficult to see meteors even if youre somewhere out far from the city lights, he said.
“...[the moon will] make its closest approach to Earth in 18 years at roughly 221,800 miles away....
The last time the phenomenon occurred was back in March of 2011 when the moon was about 240 miles closer to Earth than it will be during this years approach.”
I HATE New Math!
That drove me crazy too.
I see trouble on the way.
I see bad earthquakes and lightnin'.
I see bad times today.
Don't go around tonight, Well, it's bound to take your life.
There's a bad moon on the rise.
I thought it was “There’s a bathroom on the right.”
“Thanks to a phenomenon not yet fully understood by scientists,”
The strange phenomenon is called an “orbit”. The moon will be closer, and the thing baffling scientists is why the moon will appear to be 17% larger just because it is closer.
Daddy would have gotten us Uzis...
Sounds like great hot tub viewing!!
*snerk* My sister and I STILL sing it that way, just to be silly. ;o)
It’s fortunate that you are not a scientist.
You’d get the moon illusion for any full moon, though. What will make this one special is, in addition to the moon illusion, the angular size of the disc will be a little bigger.
I took that as the “misunderstood phenomenon”, since we get moon illusion 13 times a year.
Too bad it’s not an eclipse, it would be a long one!
The next eclipse will be an annular, btw, with the moon a little smaller than the Sun in angular terms.
It would be....if my hot tub was working.
You know that hope and change thingy?
Well, I'm hoping that by saving my change I can have enough to get it fixed because I sure can't afford the price outright at the moment.
OK I looked it up- this weekend the Moon will have an apparent size a whole 0.1 degree bigger (6 arcminutes over the “average” of 30 arcseconds).
The reason the moon looks bigger near the horizon is the same reason this bra looks big, we scale things in our mind by known objects next to what we are looking at.