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Posted on Sat, Jun 22, 2013 : 5:37 a.m.

Extreme 'supermoon' this weekend won't 'cause volcanoes to erupt' but may catch your eye

By Chelsea Hoedl

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An 'extreme supermoon' will be visible this Saturday and Sunday.

This weekend, stargazers will be able to enjoy a full moon at its lunar perigee, according to That means the moon will be the closest it will get to the Earth this year and will appear 12 to 14 percent larger to viewers.

The moon is typically 384,400 kilometers away from the Earth, but Saturday and Sunday it will only be 356,991 kilometers away, making this weekend’s full moon an ‘extreme supermoon’. The moon is expected to be nearly full both Saturday and Sunday night.

A perigee and a full moon both occur at some point during every month, director of the Sherzer Observatory at Eastern Michigan University Norbert Vance said.

“It’s a typical full moon,” Vance said. “There’s nothing unusual or un-ordinary. It’s just coincidental that the moon is reaching full phase during this perigee point when it is closer to the earth.”

According to Vance, ‘supermoons’ occur every few years and have happened millions of times in the history of the Earth.

“You won’t be able to see it unless you’re really looking,” Vance said. “It’s not going to overwhelm you or swallow up the Earth, but one of the neat things that people take for granted is that the moon is so low on the horizon, which also makes it look larger.”

To those interested in appreciating the somewhat larger full moon this weekend, Vance recommends keeping in mind the subtlety of the change and grabbing a pair of binoculars.

“It’s not going to cause the oceans to rise over the continents or cause volcanoes to erupt and it’s nothing mystical, but this one will appear down low in the southern sky and may catch our attention while we’re out and about,” Vance said.

The best places for viewing the ‘extreme supermoon’ this weekend are the desert Southwest and the lower Ohio Valley into the mid-Atlantic and southern New England, according to

According to the National Weather Service, the Ann Arbor area will be mostly cloudy on Saturday night and partly cloudy on Sunday night. The clouds may make it difficult to fully appreciate the ‘extreme supermoon’.

Chelsea Hoedl is an intern reporter for She can be reached at


Bob Krzewinski

Wed, Jun 26, 2013 : 4:06 p.m.

My comments saying that calling this moon a "supermoon' were bogus (i.e. people now expecting to see a huge, huge moon) were apparently taken out As noted Astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson stated, calling last weekends moon a supermoon is like getting a 15" pizza and calling it a "superpizza" compared to a 14" pizza -


Sun, Jun 23, 2013 : 6:07 a.m.

If you'd like to see a really good photo comparison of the Moon's size at its perigee and apogee, enter "File:lunar perigee apogee.png" in your browser's search box. Then click on the Wikipedia link in your search results. Reasons to be grateful: Mars' largest moon, Phobos, is a whopping 13.7944 miles across. Earth's Moon is 2160 miles across. If not for the Moon's closeness and large apparent size, we late-comer humans would probably have little idea of what planets and stars really are.

Usual Suspect

Sun, Jun 23, 2013 : 12:55 a.m.

Of course it can't cause volcanoes to erupt. Everybody know it's global warming and fracking that causes volcanoes.

Usual Suspect

Sun, Jun 23, 2013 : 1:20 p.m.

It's mighty hard to tell the difference, isn't it?


Sun, Jun 23, 2013 : 10:48 a.m.

Sarcastic or are you one of Algores AGW supporters?

Ann English

Sat, Jun 22, 2013 : 11:46 p.m.

Makes me wonder if it will be shown on TV, from one of those areas that are best for viewing it; one solar eclipse that did not pass over the U.S. at all, was shown on TV while it was happening a few years ago. A previous one, in 2006, also did not pass over the U.S. A., but I saw a webcast of it, broadcast from Side (two-syllable name of a city), Turkey. It's been just a few years since a supermoon was seen in our own area. A supermoon would be more likely to be shown on TV than on a webcast, for it isn't as rare as, say, the Transition of Venus was.

Homeland Conspiracy

Sat, Jun 22, 2013 : 5:29 p.m.

I bet lycanthrope will be in "full" affect


Sat, Jun 22, 2013 : 1:42 p.m.

I remember seeing a monster full moon about 30 yrs ago. It was awesome.


Sat, Jun 22, 2013 : 12:51 p.m.

It's gonna be cloudy it seems it always is when something cool happens in the sky


Sat, Jun 22, 2013 : 11:56 a.m.

Hope we can see it!