Journal Express, Knoxville, IA


May 2, 2012

'Super Moon' coming up this Saturday

OTTUMWA — Love a big, full moon? You'd better hope Saturday evening is clear.

This Saturday is a so-called "supe rmoon" night. What that means is the moon will be full at almost the same time as its closest approach to earth for the year. The moon will officially be full at 10:34 p.m. Saturday. Perigee, the moon's closest approach, takes place only two minutes later.

AccuWeather's Daniel Vogler explains in his blog:

"I looked back at other Super Moon data and cannot find any closer than that timing-wise, remarkable!" he said.

The combination will make the moon look 14 percent bigger than it appears when at apogee, its farthest point from earth. The close approach is a concern for coasts, since the moon has a direct impact on tides. But from Iowa, it should just be pretty.

The forecast at this point isn't what observers might hope, though. The National Weather Service gives Saturday night a 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms with mostly cloudy skies.

So it all depends on timing. A break in the skies at the right time will give Iowans the chance to see the biggest and brightest moon of the year.

Without that, all you'll get by looking up is rain on your face.

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