This Saturday May 5, 2012 brings what is known as a Supermoon. This is when the moon is not only full, but also much closer to the earth than it usually is. On Saturday the moon will only be 221,802 miles, or 356,955 kilometers, away from Earth. This means that a much larger and much more detailed version of the moon will be visible to sky watchers. What is even more special about this year’s Supermoon is the meteor shower that will also be taking over the sky.
A less visible sky watching event is the annual Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower, remnants left over from Halley’s Comet, which sweeps through our skies the same night, but with the bright Supermoon looming overhead, this will make the visibility of the already faint meteor display somewhat difficult to see even away from city lights.
In the United states, the best time to view the Supermoon will be when it makes its closest approach to Earth at 11:35pm Eastern Time, 8:35pm Pacific Time. People the Midwest, South and Great Lakes areas of the United States are expected to have some cloud cover that evening which may affect visibility of the Supermoon and meteor shower. The rest of the United States can expect a fairly clear view. For best viewing, be sure to find an area away from city lights, preferably at a higher altitude.
One more point to be aware of is the rumors of natural disasters occurring globally during Supermoons. Historically this has not been the case and while tides will rise a few centimeters, there is no reason to believe that any catastrophic events will take place.