Worm Moon: 'Super Moon' is a bigger, brighter full moon on Saturday night

8:33 AM, Mar 18, 2011   |    comments
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A full moon will occur Saturday night and due to it's closeness to the Earth, it will appear bigger and brighter than it has in a long time.

The moon will officially be full at 2:11 pm Saturday afternoon, but does not rise in the Bay area until 7:56 p.m.  It sets early on Sunday morning 7:10 a.m. and the weather promises mostly clear skies for great viewing.

The moon will appear 14% larger than normal and will be up to 30% brighter than normal.  Because the moon orbits the earth in an eliptical fashion, it moves closer and further away from the earth.  The difference between the perigee (closest) and apogee  (furthest) is just over 31,00 miles. This weekend's full moon occurs while it is at it's closest point to the earth (perigee) and within 1 hour of the official full moon.  As a result, when it rises over Tampa it will look bigger and will be brighter.  The last time the full moon and the perigee were so close was 1993, nearly 20 years ago.

This particular full moon is called the "Worm Moon" because it occurs near the time when the ground begins to thaw and the worms come out.  This brings back the robins and their return is a sure sign of spring.

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