Much of New Zealand was bathed in moonlight last night – and the reason was something called perigee.

That occurred when a full moon came close to the Earth on its elliptic orbit — resulting in a slightly larger-than-usual apparent size of the lunar disk as viewed from Earth.

Those who missed out on last night's "supermoon" will get another chance to see one on March 21, when the Moon will come within 350,772km of Earth.

The latest perigee occurred this morning at 4.53am, with the Moon 356,846km away.


Readers have shared some of their images with the Herald.

Contrary to popular belief, this super-sized full moon won't leave you temporarily crazed, nor should it interfere with sleep.

Despite enduring myths about higher crime and hospitalisation rates, there's next to no scientific evidence to suggest a bigger, brighter Moon can affect our mood, emotions or sleep.

"Some believe that a full moon is responsible for their shorter or more disturbed sleep, as well as events such as sleepwalking," Massey University sleep researcher Dr Karyn O'Keeffe said.

But these accounts, she added, might well be examples of chance, and self-fulfilling prophecies among those who believe in such a correlation.

What large studies have been carried out certainly haven't found any reason to bark at the moon for poor sleep.