DALLAS -- Two ingredients make up tonight’s ultimate Supermoon.
First, in its elliptical orbit, this is about the closest our natural satellite comes to our planet. And, this time, it’s happening when the moon is full so it’ll appear bigger and brighter.
“It will be a very dramatic moon rising this evening," said UT Dallas Research Scientist Marc Hairston.
Hairston says the moon will appear “14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter compared to a full moon taking place six months from now."
The last time the super close Supermoon appeared was in the late 1940s. He confirms the Supermoon will make tides higher by a few inches to a few feet around the world. But that’s about it.
“As far as other effects--are there more crimes committed? Are their more babies born? No, nothing like that," he said.
There are a lot of myths about the moon, and there’s a lot of interest when that circular rock scoots in a few hundred miles closer to us like this.
Hairston sees it like this: “It’s a beautiful object and something that speaks to us. We live indoors and we don’t pay attention to what is going on in the sky. And this is something that gives us a poke and says hey there is a universe out here. There’s a universe outside your cellphone, your smart phone, your TV. So come look at the natural world out here.”
On that subject of smart phones: While the moon really is ready for its close up, a really good camera works best. Hairston cautions that your cell phone camera probably won’t capture the lunar ‘lean in’ nearly as spectacularly as your eyes will, “For my astronomy class I had my students keep track of the moon for six weeks, taking pictures and keeping track of the phases and one of the things. They all realized is that cellphones are lousy for taking pictures of the moon. Because the darkness, the moon washes out the picture and you just get a big blob.”
Hairston advises looking to the eastern horizon just after sunset. Because of an optical illusion, that's the time when the Supermoon will appear to be largest. If you miss it, though, don’t despair. Hairston says Supermoons are fairly common. Hairston says there will be another one late next year. But the moon will have moved in its orbit by then and will be a bit further away.