How many of you have ever received that email that claims: “Planet Mars will be the brightest object in the night sky this month. It will look as large as the full moon to the naked eye.” There are many variations of this email and some make even more spectacular claims about the supposed close encounter with the Red Planet. All are false of course, but as it is human nature to be gullible, the emails circulate to this day.
Tonight is different however! Tonight is the night of the Super Moon! Because the moon happens to be at its closest point to earth just as the full moon rises tonight at 8:35 pm pst, it will be almost 15% larger than a normal full moon. It will be 30% brighter than a full moon is when the moon is at its furthest point from earth. So if you can, watch the moon rise tonight and be prepared to be impressed… or not. I personally don’t think a 14% difference in size will be noticeable but I plan to watch anyway. Here at home the moon rises from behind some hills, over a large empty field, so the horizon effect is spectacular and impresses me under normal circumstances. Tonight I expect to be almost 15% more impressed.