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Silly Clouds, Supermoon Shines Saturday Night

Unfortunately, an overcast sky, fog and some mist will prevent many in southeast Wisconsin from seeing it, but the full moon will look 15 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter Saturday night.

Mike Narlock, head Astronomer at Cranbrook Institute of Science in Bloomfield Hills, says some call this phenomenon the “supermoon.”

“A supermoon is actually an astrological term coined in 1979 — astronomers don’t really use the term,” Narlock told Detroit CBS station WWJ.

“But what it is, is when the full moon coincides with the closest point of the moon’s orbit to the earth…So, the moon is at its closest distance from the Earth, and it’s also in its full phase, so it’s really nice and bright in the sky.”

Take a good look, Narlock said, because the casual observer might not even notice.

“If you had a regular moon right next to a supermoon you could definitely see the difference, but you really won’t be able to notice much of a difference just looking at it in the sky,” Narlock said.

“But what we will note is if you happen to be by a large body of water, because the moon is so close to the earth, the tides are going to be much, much bigger,” he said. “For the next three days or so after the supermoon you’ll see increased wave activity and higher wave heights.”

Saturday night might be a good time to break out the telescope, if you have one.

The moon is still roughly 222,000 miles away from Earth at its peak.

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