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Mostly Clear Skies Forecast for 'Super Moon' Viewing

Temecula's weather should be agreeable for those who want to see the biggest, fullest moon that the region has experienced in two decades.

Temecula's sky was forecast to be mostly clear during the appearance of a "super moon" Saturday night.

Astronomers are saying that this Super Moon will be even more super than usual.

“The last full moon so big and close to Earth occurred in March of 1993,” Geoff Chester of the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington D.C. told USA Today.

This Super Moon, a phrase coined by astrologer Richard Nolle in 1979, will appear especially large because the moment of perigee—when the moon is closest to the Earth in its monthly rotation—will coincide with the appearance of a perfectly full moon, Smithsonian points out. During last year’s Super Moon on March 19, 2011, for comparison, the perigee and full moon were 50 minutes apart.

On Saturday at 8:34 p.m., the moon reaches full moon status—when the earth, moon and sun are all in alignment. One minute later, at 8:35 p.m., “perigee” will occur.

For viewers, the ideal weather would be perfectly clear skies, but the sky is forecasted to be mostly clear, with a low of 49 degrees with 10-15 mph winds, according to the National Weather Service.

The best time to photograph a full moon though, experts say, is at “moonrise.” Moonrise on Saturday will take place at 7:55 p.m. When the moon is near the horizon, illusion mixes with reality to produce a truly stunning view, NASA reports. Low-hanging moons look unnaturally large when they beam through trees, buildings and other foreground objects.

The moon will be 221,802 miles away from Earth Saturday night; (the average distance is 238,855 according to NASA.) That’s 17,053 miles closer.

This all translates to a moon that will appear 14 percent larger and 30 percent brighter than other full moons this year, according to NASA. (An astronomer interviewed by National Geographic says 16 percent bigger.)

For anyone living close to water—a perigee full Moon brings with it extra-high “perigean tides,” but this is nothing to worry about, according to NOAA. Lunar gravity at perigee pulls tide waters only a few centimeters (an inch or so) higher than usual. Local geography can amplify the effect to about 6 inches.

-- Peter Surowski contributed to this report.

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