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Watch out for ‘super Moon’

Tonight is a second chance this summer to observe a 'super Moon', when the Moon looks especially large and bright

IF YOU missed two other “super Moons” this summer (you could be forgiven for the first as it was at lunchtime on July 12) tonight is your last chance this year to catch the phenomenon when it will be clearly visible in France.

A “super Moon” (super Lune in French) looks especially large as it occurs when the Moon is both at its closest to the Earth (around 360,000km) and full. Tonight’s full Moon is also called the Lune des Moissons (Harvest Moon), which is the full Moon nearest to the Autumn Equinox.

A super Moon is said to appear about 14% larger and 30% brighter than a standard one. However, you will have to be dedicated to observe it at its best, which, weather permitting, will be at 3.38, when the Moon will be close to the horizon.

This makes it look bigger due to the “Ponzo illusion” which refers to how we judge the size of things compared to their surroundings or background – meaning a Moon on the horizon looks bigger than one in the open sky.

Photo: The last super Moon, on August 10, Sébastien Bertrand www.flickr.com

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