On Saturday night, the galaxy is putting on a show for us with a gorgeously gigantic, rust-colored super moon, which will brightly peek through the city's buildings.
A super moon happens when a full or new moon's center is less than 223,694 miles from the center of earth, making it look incredibly close. On average, the moon is about 283,000 miles away.
The moon will become full (completely illuminated by the sun) at its peak at 2:34am on Sunday, but the best time to catch the giant will be at 4:41pm on Saturday evening, when it starts to rise, and when it sets at 7:27am on Sunday. At its rise and setting is when it looks its biggest.
American Museum of Natural History Astronomer Dr. Jackie Faherty says the best part about it is how easy it will be to spot, unlike other phenomena like Manhattanhenge that requires viewers to stand on specific streets.
"The most under-appreciated astronomical phenomenon is a moon rise or a moon set," she says. "They're super beautiful but people aren’t paying as much attention so they go unappreciated. The fun about a bright, full moon is that it provides a particularly lovely moon rise ... that feels particularly super."
This specific full moon is called the "snow moon" due to the typically heavy snowfall of February (ironic considering the lack of flakes this year). Each month's moon in the lunar calendar was given a name in ancient times. The next one on March 9 is called the "Super Worm Moon."
Last year's super full moon in January was also a lunar eclipse, horrifically dubbed the super blood wolf moon.
While "super moon" isn't a scientific name (it was coined by astrologist Richard Nolle in 1979), each 28-day moon orbit has a closest and farthest distance from the earth, Faherty says, which are called perigee and apogee, respectively. This month's perigee (at 223,000 miles) is on Monday, February 10, but it won't be a full moon.Share the story