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Clear skies reveal 'super moon'

Clear skies revealed a "super moon" phenomenon on Saturday night as the Moon reached its closest point to the Earth for almost two decades.

Star gazers could see a bigger and brighter Moon than normal as it reached the closest point to the Earth, referred to as a lunar perigee, since 1992.

But experts warned people had to look very closely to spot the 0.3% difference.

A "super moon" refers to a new or full moon that occurs when the Moon is 90% or over its closest position to Earth. It is the first time since January 19, 1992, that the Moon has come into such close proximity to the Earth.

Robert Massey, deputy executive secretary of the Royal Astronomical Society, said: "The Moon will be unusually close and a little brighter but the visual effects of it being closer to the Earth is unlikely to be noticed by the human eye."

Mr Massey added that it would be difficult for those who are not regular star gazers to see a difference in the Moon's size, with it being just 0.3% bigger than this time last month.

The Moon was 220,625 miles away from London at 18.10 on Saturday, 625 miles closer than it was a month before on February 18. When the Moon is at its furthest distance from the Earth, referred to as an apogee, it can be as far away from Earth as 250,000 miles.

Mr Massey cast aside conspiracy theories that weather events occurring before or after lunar perigees, such as the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, are connected to the Moon's movements.

"It is very irresponsible of people to suggest that there is a connection between the super moon and the tsunami in Japan. At the time of the earthquake, the (Moon's) forces were at their weakest."


From Belfast Telegraph