'Supermoon' to shine on Sunday

Updated: 2012-05-03 21:11


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TIANJIN - A "supermoon" will appear in the sky on Sunday, when the natural satellite will be at its biggest and brightest this year.

"If the weather is good, the Chinese public can enjoy seeing a much bigger and brighter moon than usual," said Zhao Zhiheng, a member of the Tianjin Astronomy Society, on Thursday.

The moon's distance from Earth varies between approximately 350,000 km and 400,000 km due to its oval orbit, meaning it appears to be various sizes when seen from our planet.

At 11:35 am on Sunday Beijing time, the moon will be the brightest of this year as it will "directly face" the sun and reflect all sunlight to the earth; at noon, the moon will be the biggest of this year as it will arrive at its perigee, or the closest point to Earth in its orbit, Zhao explained.

As it appears in the Beijing daytime, residents of the Chinese capital may need a telescope or other astronomic viewing apparatus to observe the phenomenon, however.

The supermoon tends to bring high and low tides, but claims that it is linked to natural disasters like earthquakes or volcanic eruptions have been denied by experts.

"The supermoon is neither mysterious nor strange. It is a normal celestial phenomenon and will not affect people's lives," Zhao said.

Last year's supermoon appeared on March 19, when it was also the biggest and brightest in 18 years.

The supermoon will shine again on June 23 next year.