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article imageWhat to know about Saturday's supermoon

By Caroline Leopold     Aug 28, 2015 in Science
A full moon on Saturday will look larger and brighter than usual due to the lunar path being closer to the earth — which is the reason for the nickname "super moon." On September 27-28, a lunar eclipse of a supermoon is coming.
While "Supermoon" has a catchy name, it's not very scientific. Astronomers prefer to call Saturday's moon a "perigee" or "near earth" moon. The moon does not orbit the Earth in a circle, but rather on an elliptical path. So, some months the moon is much closer to Earth than others.
A Supermoon is closer and can be 30 percent brighter than usual full moons. Along with Saturday's super moon, two more are coming this year — including a combined super moon and lunar eclipse overnight on September 27 to 28. The last Supermoon of the year is October 27.
The September 27 Supermoon will be the brightest and the dimmest moon because of a lunar eclipse. The event will turn the moon a rusty hue — sometimes called a "blood moon."
The lunar eclipse will begin at 9:07 pm EDT and the moon will be fully hidden in Earth's shadow at 10:11 pm EDT. Then, the moon will gradually reappear until the eclipse is over at.
The eclipse of the super moon begins at 9:07 p.m. EDT on Sept. 27. The moon will be in Earth's shadow from — 10:11 p.m. to 11:23 p.m. During totality, the moon will have a rusty, reddish-orange color. The moon will then gradually exit the shadow and its lit surface will start of reappear; and this will last until 12:27 a.m. Sept. 28, according to My Eastern Shore MD.
A scientist didn't invent the term, but it is believed astrologer Richard Nolle coined the term supermoon over 30 years ago, according to Nolle has defined a supermoon as: "a new or full moon which occurs with the moon at or near (within 90% of) its closest approach to Earth in a given orbit."
That definition is broad and allows for quite a few supermoons in a year.
Astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson isn't buying the Supermoon concept. He said the moon is closest to the Earth once per month and doesn't understand why there's only a super full moon and not a "super half-moon" or "super crescent moon."
More about supermoon, blood moon, perigree moon, near earth moon
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