A 'super' night for skywatchers

Photo provided by staff.
Monday, July 22, 2013 - 6:22pm

Tonight's full moon will be a "super" one.

When the moon turns full at the same time of lunar perigee, astronomers call it a "supermoon." Lunar perigee means the Earth and moon are closest to each other during the moon's monthly orbit; 221,824 miles from Earth to be exact.

The moon became full Monday afternoon and will be visibly bigger and brighter through Tuesday morning. Some scientists say it could look 14 percent larger and 30 percent brighter than an average full moon.

Louisiana skywatchers can look east after dusk and enjoy this special, lunar sighting.

Typically, Earth sees 4-6 supermoons annually. July's supermoon is the third one this year; the first occurred in May and the second in June.

Other names for this month's full moon is Buck Moon, Thunder Moon or Hay Moon because at this time of year, buck deer grow velvety antlers, thunderstorms rage and farmers struggle to put hay into their barns.

Looking ahead to the next full moon, August's full moon will be called a "Blue Moon."

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