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Supermoon May Be The Star Of The Meteor Shower This Weekend

supermoon-2012

Meteor showers are always quite a spectacle in themselves, but all eyes could be on a different part of the sky this weekend.

The ‘supermoon of 2012′, which is the biggest moon of the year, will occur at 11:35 EST on Saturday, May 5th.

In order for the supermoon to occur, the moon must be at full phase as well as take place close to perigee, which is when the moon makes it’s closest approach to the earth.

Being so close to the actual perigee, this will make the moon 16% brighter than last years March 2011 supermoon.

To be exact, this years full moon will occur at 11:34 EST while the perigee will occur at 11:35 EST, compared to last years dynamic duo which was 50 minutes apart from each other.

Also vying for attention however, NASA scientists say that at the same exact time, that the annual Eta Aquarid meteor shower will be hitting its peak.

“Its light will wash out the fainter Eta Aquarid meteors,” NASA meteor expert Bill Cooke of the Marshall Space Flight Center told SPACE.com in an email. Cooke says however there the brightest meteors in the pack may still be faintly visible.

In regards to the meteor shower, Eta Aquarids in May, like the Orionids in October, are pieces of debris from Halley’s Comet Thatcher and have been observed for more than 2,600 years. In early May of each year, Earth runs into the stream of debris caused by the comet, creating a beautiful event every year.

Oh, and for those wondering just how far from earth the moon will be on Saturday, how close does 221,802 miles from Earth sound?

Do you wish you were able to see the meteor shower better this year? Or are you OK with the supermoon instead?

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