Belfast Telegraph

Look up in the sky for year’s big moon rising

By Linda Stewart

Astronomers are predicting a huge bright moon as the full moon comes at the time when it is at its closest to the Earth all year.

That means the moon will appear particularly big and bright in the sky — up to 30% brighter than many other full moons this year. However, the apparent increase in size won't be quite as striking – it will be 14% bigger than some of the other full moons this year.

According to Terry Mosel of the Irish Astronomical Association, it's all due to the moon's elliptical orbit around the Earth, which means that its distance from us is constantly varying.

“The closest approach to Earth is called ‘perigee’, and due to various other factors, some perigees are closer than others. As it happens the closest lunar perigee of 2012 coincides very closely with the full moon on May 6,” he said.

“So have a look at moonrise in the southeast on Saturday at about 8.45pm, and if you are up early, at moonset on Sunday morning at about 05.20 in the southwest.”

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