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Supermoon will shine on West Coast at 8:34 p.m. Saturday

May 5, 2012 |  5:23 pm

A%20full%20moon%20last%20March%20over%20Los%20Angeles%20City%20Hall.%20The%20full%20moon%20Saturday%20will%20be%20the%20biggest%20this%20year%2C%20or%20at%20least%20the%20closest%20to%20the%20Earth.%20%28Scott%20Harrison%20/%20Los%20Angeles%u2026%29

If you want to see the so-called super moon tonight, you should be in place at 8:34.

Known technically as a perigee moon, the "super moon" will appear about 14% larger and 30% brighter than the other full moons of 2012. The phenomenon happens about once a year.

Because the moon follows an elliptical orbit around the Earth, its distance from the planet varies. Full moons that occur when the moon is the closest, on the perigee side of its orbit, are particularly big and bright. NASA scientists say the moon will reach that point at 8:34 p.m. Pacific time.

Since low-hanging moons look particularly large (for reasons scientists can’t really explain), the super moon will be at its most impressive as it rises. For more on the super moon, including an explanatory video, go to NASA’s science news site.

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-- Bettina Boxall

Photo: The moon over City Hall earlier this year. Credit: Scott Harrison / Los Angeles Times

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