UK & World News
'Supermoon' To Light Up Weekend Skies
Skywatchers are in for a treat when the first 'supermoon' of the year appears this weekend.
The full moon will be a supermoon on Friday and Saturday, scientists say.
A supermoon occurs when the moon is slightly closer to planet Earth in its orbit than usual.
It appears larger and brighter than normal and it is especially noticeable when there is a full moon. When the moon is close to the horizon and low hanging, the effect is magnified.
James Garvin, chief scientist at Nasa's Goddard Space Flight Center, said: "The moon may seem bigger, although the difference in its distance from Earth is only a few percent at such times."
The weekend's supermoon is one of three expected this summer, with the others due on August 10 and September 9.
Supermoons can be 30% brighter than normal moons but the effect can be obscured by clouds or haze.
Scientists have dismissed any notion that the phenomenon could cause bizarre behaviour of tides or natural disasters.
"The effects on Earth from a supermoon are minor," said Mr Garvin.