6 May 2012

'Super moon' lights up Sunday night sky

7:56 pm on 6 May 2012

The moon appears larger and brighter than normal on Sunday as its closest approach to Earth coincides with a full moon.

Auckland's Stardome Observatory says the moon looks 14% larger and 30% brighter than usual.

The scientific term for the phenomenon is perigee moon, but it is also known as a 'super moon'.

Its presenter Peter Felhofer says the event happens about once a year.

He says anyone should be able to see the spectacle.

Mr Felhofer says the moon rose between 5.30-6pm on Sunday and anyone who has a clear, unobstructed view towards the east should be able to see the red-orange coloured moon.

He says an enhanced view of the moon will remain for the next couple of days.

During its slightly elliptical orbit the moon is on average about 380,000 kilometres from earth. The perigee brings it to a distance of 356,953 kilometres.