New Delhi: A `super moon` greeted sky aficionados today as it appeared biggest and brightest for the year.
"The full moon today was around 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter as compared to other full moons during the year," Science Popularisation Association of Communicators and Educators (SPACE) Director C B Devgun said.
The full moon was at its best at around 16:41 IST, he said.
Super Moon is a situation when the moon is slightly closer to Earth in its orbit than on average, and this effect is most noticeable when it occurs at the same time as a full moon.
"So, the moon may seem bigger although the difference in its distance from Earth is only a few percent at such times" Dr Jim Garvin, chief scientist at NASA`s Goddard Space Flight Center, said.
The phenomenon occurs as the Moon`s orbit is elliptical with one side 50,000 km closer to Earth than the other.
At closest, our natural satellite lies roughly 3,56,630 kms from Earth compared to the its average distance of 3,84,800 km from Earth.
The moon reached what is known as its `perigee`, the closest approach to earth in its orbit, at 3,56,989 kms exactly, N Sri Raghunandan Kumar of Planetary Society of India said.
The last such celestial event occurred on May 6, 2012.