You may have more than Margaritas to look forward to this Cinco de Mayo – on Saturday night, May 5th, the full moon will be closer to the earth than at any other time this year!
The following is from National Geographic’s Daily News:
By Andrew Fazekas
On Saturday night, the full moon will be closer to Earth than at any other time this year, an occurrence that’s been labeled a supermoon.
Due to the moon’s egg-shaped orbit, there are times when our natural satellite is at perigee—its closest to Earth—and at apogee, its farthest.
The term “supermoon” was coined in 1979 to describe a full moon that coincides with perigee—something that happens about once a year, on average.
During this week’s perigee, the moon will be 221,801 miles (356,955 kilometers) from our planet, and that close approach will happen within minutes of the official full moon phase, which occurs at 11:35 p.m. ET.
“As a consequence, this translates into it appearing as much as 16 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter than other full moons of 2012—not a huge amount, but definitely noticeable,” said Geza Gyuk, an astronomer at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago.
The moon’s proximity won’t have any major effects on our planet, according to astronomers, who hope to dispel fears that the looming lunar orb causes natural disasters.
“While we know that during new and full moons the tides are greatest—and if it’s in concert with a storm surge it might produce unusual flooding—there is no scientific evidence that earthquakes and other natural disasters are connected,” Gyuk said.
“Supermoons have been happening for billions of years, and nothing particularly special occurs on these dates—except, of course, for a beautiful full moon.”