First of the summer of ‘supermoons’ visible this weekend

Keep an eye on the moon Saturday night.

Scientists say it will be the first of three supermoons in a row, which will occur in Hawaii on July 12, August 10 and September 8.

“The full moons for these three evenings will be a little bit larger than an average full moon in the sky, since the full moons occur when the moon is close to its closest point to Earth as it orbits our planet,” explained Mike Shanahan, Director of Visitor Experience and Planetarium at Bishop Museum.

The scientific name for the phenomenon is called “perigee moon,” which refers to the path the moon follows around Earth.

While the moon can be somewhat bigger and brighter due to its proximity, don’t expect an earth-shattering visual. Brightness can easily be masked by clouds and haze, scientists say.

“The difference is fairly subtle,” Shanahan said. “There is a certainly a little element of hype to the whole ‘supermoon’ concept, though I’m all for getting people out and observing the night sky whenever they can.”

What may be more impressive is a supermoon that’s close to the horizon.

Also known as a “moon illusion,” low-hanging moons can look unnaturally large and should be even larger during a supermoon. NASA says scientists and psychologists can’t explain exactly how or why the illusion occurs.

The moon will rise on July 12 at 7:45 p.m. and set on July 13 at 7:20 a.m., well into the daylight hours, according to Shanahan.

Click here for NASA’s article on the upcoming supermoons.

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