Super-Sized Moon Taking Over Tonight's Sky

Tonight's moon will appear larger and brighter in the sky.

For those who howl at a full moon, start exercising those vocal chords because tonight's full moon will be super-sized.

“It’s going to be a very bright, very big looking moon. It’s worth people going outside and see the difference (between a typical full moon,)” says Karl von Ahnen, technical director at Fujitsu Planetarium at De Anza College.

Moonrise in Gilroy is expected at 8 p.m., and moonset at 5:34 a.m. Sunday.

Von Ahnen says it will appear about 15 percent brighter than a typical full moon and will appear larger looking.

“It’s special, astronomically.”

The super moon is due to a combination of the moon’s elliptical orbit around Earth and the time at which it is at its closest point to us—called perigee—occurring at the same time as the full moon cycle. Typically the two occur a day or so apart, but this one is happening at the same time.

“It’s very unique,” he says. “Each of these motions is independent.”

Often there is a moon illusion phenomenon, von Ahnen says, that happens when the moon shows near something like a mountain and gives it the appearance of being larger, but it isn’t actually closer to our planet. It’s kind of a psychological trick on the eye, he says.

If you thought the moon looked like it was hanging heavy Friday night, wait til you see it tonight.

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