Bloomberg News

Moon, Earth Rendezvous in Close Encounter of a Lunar Kind

June 22, 2013

The moon, in movie parlance, is ready for its close-up this weekend as its orbit brings the satellite nearer to Earth than at any time this year, making it bigger and brighter than normal on the celestial screen.

The moon and Earth will be about 221,824 miles (356,991 kilometers) apart, 17,031 miles closer than usual, said Mark Paquette, an AccuWeather meteorologist, in a telephone interview. The close approach, called a perigee, will occur at 7:11 a.m. East Coast time tomorrow.

Paquette, who also specializes in astronomy, said the moon will be a full one, and the phenomenon will be visible tonight from about 8 p.m., when the moon is 99 percent full.

“It will seem bigger, especially if you see it earlier when it’s low to the horizon,” Paquette said in the call from State College, Pennsylvania.

The “extreme supermoon” occurs about every 13 to 14 months and the planetary body appears about 14 percent larger and 30 percent brighter than it does when it’s at its greatest distance, called an apogee, in the orbit with Earth, Paquette said.

The moon will be at apogee on July 7, he said.

Paquette said “supermoons” occur about three to four times each year, though they aren’t as close as extreme supermoons, he said.

AccuWeather said the Southwest and lower Ohio Valley into the mid-Atlantic region and southern New England will have the clearest skies. Rain and thunderstorms in the Upper Midwest will making viewing conditions poor there.

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