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Supermoon to light up the region's sky

Saturday, June 22, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
 

The nights will be a little brighter this weekend thanks to this year's Supermoon — the closest, brightest moon of 2013.

The moon will appear to be nearly 14 percent larger and 30 percent brighter than a typical full moon because the moon will reach its perigee, the point of its orbital path that is closest to Earth.

The Supermoon will be 221,824 miles from Earth, about 30,000 miles closer than at its farthest point, according to NASA. This is the closest it will be to Earth until August 2014.

The moon will reach its closest point at 7:32 a.m. Sunday but will also appear exceptionally close and bright Saturday night.

To those in the astronomy field, it is not the spectacular viewing event it is made out to be.

“It's not really that great,” said Lou Coban, manager of the Allegheny Observatory in Riverview Park. “The contrast is all washed out.”

Still, he said, he enjoys seeing the public talking about cosmic events.

“It's nice to get people excited about astronomy,” Coban said. “It's a fun event for people who don't normally think about astronomy.”

The National Weather Service in Moon forecasts partly cloudy skies Saturday night, so viewers should be able to see the Supermoon. That forecast holds through Sunday morning.

Those not able to catch the weekend's Supermoon will have a chance to see another astronomical display this summer — the annual Perseid meteor shower will rain up to 90 meteors per hour across the night sky Aug. 12.

Megan Guza is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5810 or mguza@tribweb.com.

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