'Super moon' lights up sky

Last updated 08:00 07/05/2012

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A "super moon" managed to break through cloud to light up in the night sky in Christchurch overnight.

NASA said the moon appeared about 14 per cent bigger than usual and 30 per cent brighter, because of its oval orbit around the Earth.

Do you have photos of the super moon? Share them with us by emailing reporters@press.co.nz.

The scientific term for the phenomenon is "perigee moon".

Super perigee moons are fairly common, with the moon becoming full within a few hours of its closest approach to Earth about once a year on average.

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 was visible over New Zealand from about 5.23pm.

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

According to Space.com meteorologist Joe Rao, the moon was about 356,955 kilometres from the earth.

Later this year the opposite will happen, with the November 28 full moon coinciding with the moon's apogee, its farthest approach, Space.com reports.

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- The Press


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