'Supermoon' Shines Big and Bright
Saturday night's Big Moon captured over Ports of Call San Pedro. (KTLA viewer Rollo)
NASA says the perigee moon, or "super moon," appears 14 percent larger and 30 percent brighter than any other full moon of 2012. The super moon usually shines once a year.
The moon's distance from the Earth varies because it follows and elliptical orbit. Full moons shine when the moon is closest and Saturday night, that was at 8:34 p.m.
As the moon orbits the Earth, there are specific times when it is closest to and farthest away from our planet.
The perigee moon occurs when the moon is farthest away from Earth, and perigee occurs when it is closest. On Saturday, the moon will be at its perigee and thus very close to Earth -- about 221,000 miles away.
The perigee on Saturday night is also the closest one to Earth all year, about 3% closer than any other approach in 2012.
This is due to the fact that the orbits in our solar system are elliptical instead of circular.
There is a bit of wobble in these orbits as well, explaining why we see some perigees closer and some apogees farther away than others.
Those along the coasts wondering, "Do I need to worry about huge high tides?" will notice more exaggerated high and low tides but nothing extreme.
In most places, the perigean tides raise tidal levels about an inch. In some locations, the tide could rise possibly up to six inches, depending on local geography.