Catherine Gaffaney

Catherine Gaffaney is an NZME news service reporter based in Auckland.

'Super-duper' full moon to appear in NZ skies

The moon seen from Mt John.
The moon seen from Mt John.

A "super-duper" full moon that is bigger and brighter than any other moon this year will appear in the sky on Monday morning.

The full moon will occur at 6.10am but will reach perigee, the closest point to Earth, at 5.44am.

It would be another 20 years before a moon was as close to the earth, according to University of Canterbury astronomer Associate Professor Karen Pollard.

At its closest, the moon will be 356,896km away from Earth.

When seen on the horizon, it would seem much larger than when seen high in the sky because of an interesting optical illusion, Professor Pollard said.

"We saw a supermoon a month ago on July 12 and will see another one next month on September 9. However, the supermoon this month is the closest and largest one for 2014," she said.

"After September, the cycles of full moons and perigees get out of sync and it won't be for another year and 48 days that they align again and we are able to see more supermoons."

The best time to see or photograph the moon was as it is rising on Sunday and Monday evening.


The moon seen from Mt John.

A close supermoon would result in more extreme spring tides, but this effect should not cause flooding unless combined with a strong weather system, Professor Pollard said.

The University of Canterbury's Mt John Observatory at Tekapo planned to produce high-resolution photos of the moon's surface.

- APNZ

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