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“Moonageddon” and “Supermoon” to appear on Saturday

World Events

“Moonageddon” and “Supermoon” to appear on Saturday

Jorge Hernandez March 18, 2011

ABC News dubbed it "Moonageddon" and others are calling it "Supermoon." The biggest full moon in almost 20 years will be in the sky on Saturday night.

The moon's orbit around the Earth will reach its perigee – or shortest distance – on March 19 and come within 221,566 miles of our planet, according to National Geographic.

While most people on the ground may not be able to notice a difference, the supermoon version of the full moon will actually be 15 percent bigger and 20 percent brighter than usual.

"Look for the full moon as it rises above the eastern horizon as the sun sets below the western horizon—it will be a beautiful and inspiring sight …[visible] pretty much any time during the time," Geza Gyuk, an astronomer at Chicago's Adler Planetarium, told the news source.

The last time that a supermoon occurred was in March of 1993.

Despite some online speculation that the recent earthquake in Japan was related to the moon's close orbit to the Earth, this claim has been discredited by scientists.

"There's no reason to expect any calamities or quakes or anything really bad. It's happened many times before …and hasn't caused anything bad in the past," Jim O'Leary, director of the Maryland Science Center's Davis Planetarium told the Baltimore Sun.

According to National Geographic, there are gravitational forces that change between the moon, Earth and the sun, thus explaining a supermoon's potential effect on tides, tsunamis and quakes.

However, this was not the case for the devastating earthquake that hit Northern Japan on March 11.

"People blame things on the alignment of the planets because they want an explanation, but it's not the moon's fault," Geoffrey Wyatt, of the Sydney Observatory, told ABC News.