Science and Technology
12:49 pm
Fri June 21, 2013

Supermoon To Dominate Weekend Sky

The largest full moon of the year will grace the night sky Sunday as our nearest neighbor in space makes its closest approach.

The moon will reach its closest perigee of 2013, dominating the sky. For about a half-hour of the event, the moon will also turn full — a confluence of events that produces a so-called supermoon. The full moon on Sunday will appear to be 14 percent to 30 percent brighter than it does when it's at the other end of its orbit, known as apogee. Here's an explainer from Space.com.

At closest approach, the moon will be 221,300 miles from Earth. A few days later, on July 6, it will be at its most distant apogee of the year at 252,583 miles.

Moonrise occurs at about 8:50 p.m. EDT and at about 8:29 p.m. PDT on the West Coast. You can check your own location here.

As Hoax Slayer, a Snopes-like website dedicated to "debunking email hoaxes and exposing Internet scams," notes:

"Some of the circulating messages tend to exaggerate how big the moon will actually appear. And, of course, it will not appear bright purple or blue as suggested by some circulating graphics. Nevertheless, June 23 should present a great opportunity to view and photograph the moon in all its splendor."

LiveScience also writes about the myth of the supermoon, which it says has been blamed for everything "from the sinking of the Titanic to Japan's earthquake and tsunami of 2011."

"But Earth science experts say linking geological events to the full moon is foolish. The gravitational changes created by a few tens of thousands of miles of difference in distance between the moon and Earth aren't enough to alter tectonic forces in any meaningful way. ...

"Nor have studies turned up evidence that the moon affects human health and behavior. A 1985 review of research published in the journal Psychological Bulletin found no convincing evidence that full moons spur mental hospital admission uptakes, psychiatric disturbances, homicides or other crimes. A 2010 study similarly found a lack of excess criminal lunacy on full-moon days."

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