UK & World News
Super Moon Steals Limelight From Meteor Shower
A super moon has illuminated the sky overnight in a once-a-year cosmic show - but overshadowed a meteor shower from Halley's Comet.
The phenomenon meant the moon seemed especially big and bright as it reached its closest spot to Earth at the same time it is in its full phase, Nasa said.
The lunar event, known as a perigee moon, meant the moon appeared about 14% larger and 30% brighter than when it is farthest from the planet, Nasa said.
The moon appeared at its best in British skies in the early hours of Sunday morning, at around 4.30am.
The moon's distance from Earth varies because it follows an elliptical orbit rather than a circular one.
In the lead-up to the super moon, scientists were quick to dismiss notions that the phenomenon causes bizarre behaviour or natural disasters.
Scientists said its most significant impact was on the tide.
And even though it offered a treat to skywatchers, the super moon stole the limelight from a meteor shower caused by Halley's Comet, Nasa said.
The famous comet's debris trail - called the Eta Aquarid meteor shower - peaked in the sky this weekend, but the glare of the Super Moon washed out all but the brightest fireballs.
From 40 to 60 meteors from the shower normally can be seen each hour - but it does tend to favour the Southern Hemisphere when it appears each May.
The Eta Aquarid meteors make up the cosmic offspring of Halley's Comet, which passes by Earth every 76 years.
The comet last visited in 1986 and is not expected to be back until 2061.