Tonight's super perigee moon a rare treat

A shining, shimmering, splendid mega moon is all set to make a grand debut this evening.

Christopher MacManus
Crave contributor Christopher MacManus regularly spends his time exploring the latest in science, gaming, and geek culture -- aiming to provide a fun and informative look at some of the most marvelous subjects from around the world.
Christopher MacManus
2 min read

When the super perigee moon hits the sky, like a big pizza pie, that's amore.

Check out the full moon this evening--it could be 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter than usual, according to NASA. The moon has an elliptical orbit around the Earth; when the moon seems smaller and more distant, it's on the farthest side (apogee) of its orbit, while the perigee side is about 31,000 miles closer to Earth.

So what makes tonight special? "The full Moon of March 19th occurs less than one hour away from perigee--a near-perfect coincidence that happens only every 18 years or so," says Geoff Chester of the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C.

The best time to view the moon will be at about sunset. There's an illusion during a low-hanging moon that makes it seem larger when seen behind trees and buildings. Despite seeming so near, our closest neighbor in space will still be 221,000 miles away.

Those of you familiar with the moon know it has a very distinct relationship with ocean tides. But despite talk of a link between supermoons and natural disasters, tonight's mega moon won't cause too much trouble, at least according to Dr. Tony Phillips, an editor for NASA's Science News Web site.

"In most places, lunar gravity at perigee pulls tide waters only a few centimeters (an inch or so) higher than usual. Local geography can amplify the effect to about 15 centimeters (6 inches)--not exactly a great flood."

Sit back and enjoy tonight's moon, and please describe what you saw in the comments section! Click here to find out when our lunar friend rises in your area.