The 5th of May 2012, the full moon will be the biggest to be seen in 2012. The reason for this “super moon” is that the moon will find itself at the closest point to earth in its elliptical path around our planet, the Perigee. During this night, the moon will appear 14% bigger than at the rest of the year, and almost 30% brighter. You can’t miss it.
Watch the Nasa video explaining the supermoon.
Perigee is the point at which an object makes its closest approach to the Earth. Often the term is used in a broader sense to define the point in an orbit where the orbiting body is closest to the body it orbits. The opposite is the apogee, the farthest or highest point.
The Greek prefix “peri” means close or near. The suffix “gee”, derived from Gaea, means Earth. Merriam-Webster says word comes from Middle French, based on earlier Latin and Greek phrases.
Perigee is part of the broader family of “apses”, astronomical terms which denote distances of orbiting bodies. Since all orbits are elliptical, each orbit contains both a nearest point and a farthest point.
A “supermoon” is the coincidence of a full moon (or a new moon) with the closest approach the Moon makes to the Earth on its elliptical orbit, or perigee, leading to the technical name for a supermoon of the perigee-syzygy of the Earth-Moon-Sun system. The association of the Moon with both oceanic and crustal tides has led to claims that the supermoon phenomenon may be associated with increased risk of events such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. However, the evidence of such a link is widely held to be unconvincing.