Supermoon 2012: Biggest full moon of the year

(CNET) If you missed it last year, the super perigee moon is back for an encore performance.

On Saturday, the moon will be up to 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter than the other full moons of 2012, according to NASA.

That's because it will reach perigee, its closest point to Earth in its elliptical orbit, at 11:34 p.m. ET and become full just a minute later.

Super perigee moons happen about once a year on average, but the moon of March 19, 2011, was nearly 250 miles closer than this week's moon, prompting wild calamitous speculations.

When the moon is on the perigee side of its orbit, it's about 31,000 miles closer to Earth than the apogee side. The only effects expected are slightly higher tides and many beautiful photos.

The annual Eta Aquarid meteor shower, which is associated with Halley's comet, will coincide with the coming perigee moon. Its light will likely dim all but the brightest meteors.

It should be a gorgeous display if the weather cooperates. The moon will appear largest and most dazzling when it's near the horizon, as seen in this photo gallery showing last year's super moon.

So get your tripod out, figure out the best lunar exposure, and snap away!

This story and slideshow reported by CNET.

  • Tim Hornyak On Twitter»

    Crave freelancer Tim Hornyak is the author of "Loving the Machine: The Art and Science of Japanese Robots." He has been writing about Japanese culture and technology for a decade. E-mail Tim.

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