by Dave Preston
Look up in the night sky Saturday and you’ll be in for a bigger, brighter moon, so long as the clouds don’t obscure the sight.
Saturday, May 5 will see the arrival of a supermoon — a term coined to signify the time when the Earth’s closest celestial neighbour comes closest to our planet.
The moon’s orbit around Earth is elliptical and that means, once in a while, it comes much closer to us than usual. At 8:35 PT, the moon will hit perigee — the point in its orbit that brings it closest to Earth.
The reason it’s called a supermoon is that the moon will appear bigger and brighter than normal — up to 14 per cent bigger and, depending on the information source, up to 30 per cent brighter.
Just as the moon rises above the horizon is when it will appear biggest and brightest.
At perigee Saturday, the moon will be about 356,955 kilometres from Earth, or about 12 per cent closer than when the moon is at apogee, the farthest point from Earth.
The last time a supermoon took place was in March, 2011. The next supermoon will be in June, 2013.
In addition to the supermoon, a meteor shower from Halley’s Comet is expected to peak at the same time.