Did you happen to look at the moon this weekend? Did you notice how big and bright it was? That’s because it was a perigee full moon!

What is a perigee full moon?

A perigee full moon occurs when the Moon reaches its closest point to the Earth on its orbit and is a full or new moon. The Earth, the Moon, and the Sun are aligned. Known more commonly as a supermoon, one takes place about once every 14 full moons in a full moon cycle. The result is that the moon looks about 14% bigger and 30% brighter than when it is at its farthest point from our planet. It’s most impressive at sunrise or sunset when the moon is close to the horizon.

The supermoon may affect the tides, making the tidal force somewhat stronger. However, even at its greatest, this force is relatively weak, causing a difference of only a few inches.

And if I missed it?

Unfortunately, most of the UK was under cloud cover and rain this weekend. Visible Saturday night and at its strongest Sunday, the supermoon wasn’t visible for most of us. Some people in South West England and Southern Wales may have been lucky enough to catch a glimpse of this phenomenon.

Mark your calendars! The next one will happen in August 2014!

Photo credit: NASA