Tuesday’s supermoon biggest and brightest of year


CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP/WOOD) — A supermoon rises in the sky this week, looking to be the biggest and brightest of the year.

Not only will the moon be closer to Earth than usual, it will also be a full moon. Scientists call this cosmic combo a supermoon. The moon will be 221,855 miles away at its fullest Tuesday night, making it appear larger and more brilliant.

NASA is encouraging everyone to look skyward, whether it’s outside or through a living room window.

Scientist Noah Petro of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland said the important thing is to stay safe while moon-gazing during the pandemic.

“If you can’t get out safely… then fine,” Petro said. “Go out next month or whenever it’s safe again. Use the full moon as an excuse to get out and start looking at the moon.”

He added: “Use this as an opportunity to not physically distance yourself, but emotionally connect with something that is physically far from us.”

Unfortunately, there is a chance of rain showers and thunderstorms Tuesday night, so our viewing of the full supermoon will be very limited in West Michigan. Though the sight won’t be as impressive, there will still be chances to see the large waning moon this week. By the end of the week and the weekend, we’ll have a good view of the daytime moon. Look low to the west after sunrise, and you’ll be able to see the moon even against the light of day.

In mid-April, the waning moon will pass by Saturn, Jupiter and Mars, clustered in the southeastern sky before dawn.

All this comes after a brilliant Venus passed a few days ago in front of the Pleiades, the so-called Seven Sisters star cluster.

“We’ve really been fortunate to have some good astronomy — backyard astronomy or living room astronomy,” Petro said.

The other good news: there’s a string of supermoons this spring. So if you miss the upcoming lunar show, you can catch the next one May 7.


Storm Team 8 meteorologist Emily Schuitema contributed to this report.

The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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