All eyes on the sky and the moon

01:21, May 07 2012
Super Moon - Cairo
The 'super moon' behind the minaret of Mohamed Ali mosque in Cairo, Egypt.
Super Moon - Guatemala
The 'super moon' is seen above a cathedral tower in Guatemala City, Guatemala.
Super Moon - Lebanon
The 'super moon' is seen with a silhouette of the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ at the shrine of Our Lady Mantara in Maghdousheh village, Lebanon.
Super Moon - Phoenix
A runner makes his way along a trail on a butte in front of the 'super moon' at Papago Park in Phoenix, Arizona, US.
Super Moon - Rio de Janeiro
The 'super moon', scientifically known as a 'perigee moon', is pictured over the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Super Moon - Romania
The 'super moon' rises to the side of an apartment building in Bucharest, Romania.
Super Moon - Toronto
The 'super moon' rises over some apartment buildings in Toronto, Canada.

A "super-moon" lit up the night sky on Sunday night in a once-a-year cosmic show, overshadowing a meteor shower from remnants of Halley's Comet, NASA said.

The moon seemed especially big and bright since it would reach its closest spot to Earth at the same time it is in its full phase, NASA said.

The moon "is a 'super-moon' as much as 14 per cent bigger and 30 per cent brighter than other full moons of 2012", it said in a statement.

The scientific term for the phenomenon is "perigee moon". The moon follows an elliptical path around Earth with one side, or perigee, about 31,000 miles closer than the other, or apogee.

The moon had been visible over New Zealand since 5.23pm last night.

The last perigee moon was on March 19, 2011, when it was about 250 miles closer than last night's.

A perigee full moon can bring tides that are higher than normal but only by an inch or so (a few centimetres). The effect can be amplified by local geography, but only by about six inches.

The light from the perigee moon would wash out all but the brightest fireballs from the springtime Eta Aquarid meteor shower, NASA said. Forty to 60 meteors from the shower could normally be seen each hour.

The Eta Aquarid meteors make up the debris trail of Halley's Comet, which passes by Earth every 76 years.

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super-moon
The moon seen from Broadmeadows, Wellington.
super-moon
The moon rises over Auckland.
super-moon
The moon over Auckland.
super-moon
The moon over Churton Park, Wellington.
super-moon
A stunning shot from Christchurch. Reader Ricky Tiong superimposed a slightly underexposed shot over an overexposed shot to get the details of both the clouds and the moon.
super-moon
The moon seen from Newlands, Wellington.
super-moon
The moon seen from Ohaupo School.
super-moon
The moon rises over Thames.
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The moon over Wellington Harbour, as seen from the Endeavour Apartments on Thorndon Quay.
super-moon
The moon over Dunedin Airport.
super-moon
The moon at about 6.15pm, as seen from Linwood, Christchurch.
super-moon
The moon over Wellington Harbour.
super-moon
The moon over Wellington Harbour.
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The moon rising from the ranges behind Waikanae at 5.47pm.
super-moon
The moon over Auckland city.
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The moon as seen from Khandallah, Wellington.
From Seatoun Beach with fireworks being let off.
From Wellington's Seatoun Beach with fireworks being let off.
From Onslow Road in the Wellington suburb of Khandallah.
From Onslow Road in the Wellington suburb of Khandallah.
super-moon
The moon seen from Ilam, Christchurch.
super-moon
A young couple photographs the moon over Eastbourne, Wellington.
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The moon seen from Lepperton.
Super Moon
A "super-moon" 30 per cent brighter than other full moons shone over New Zealand.

Reuters