“Supermoon” Is Pretty, But Not Very “Super”

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[ Science]

The so-called “supermoon” will be visible this Sunday, meaning the moon will be at its closest point to the Earth for the year, and will be brighter than usual. But at least one scientist says that just because it’s been called that for years, doesn’t make it “super”.

Because the distance of the moon from the Earth varies, this will be the biggest it’s appeared to us since 1993.

“The closest the moon gets can actually vary much as much as the diameter of the Earth,” Michelle Thaller, the assistant director of science at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, said. “That seems like a pretty big number, but the moon is actually 30 times the diameter of the Earth away from us. If you line up 30 Earths, that’s about the average distance of the moon away, but as it swings a little bit closer to us, that distance can vary.”

Of course, for those interested in astronomy, a supermoon is just a chance to study the mysterious lunar rock a bit closer. But astrophysicist Neil Degrasse Tyson says that a 12% increase in size is nothing to write home about.

If you’re so inclined (I know I am), you can watch a live webcast of the supermoon here.

Image: Roberto Porto/Space.com

“Supermoon” Is Pretty, But Not Very “Super”
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