Missed the supermoon? When you can catch the next one
The moon got up close and personal last night.
It was the first of two supermoons appearing this month.
A supermoon occurs when a full moon is near its closest approach to Earth.
Michelle Nichols, director of public observing for the Adler Planetarium, said that although the full moon was Tuesday night, the actual closest point of the moon to the earth will be Wednesday.
A supermoon appears 14% bigger and 30% brighter than the farthest full moon of the year.
When watching a supermoon, Nichols said, some might have trouble noticing a difference in the moon's size "because you don't have anything else in the sky to compare it to." However, she said, you can discern a difference in brightness.
Tuesday's supermoon was known as the Full Sturgeon Moon, named by Native Americans after the Great Lakes fish that was caught more easily at this time of year.
The second supermoon is scheduled to come around Aug. 30.
From the Chicago area, the Sturgeon Moon rose at 8:43 p.m. tonight and was to set around 6:29 a.m. Wednesday.
Nichols said the moon will be fairly low in the sky, "so if there are clouds lower to the horizon, that will affect whether or not you're going to see it.
"If it's a clear view to the southeast, low to the horizon, the moon will only get about less than 30 degrees up in the Chicago area at its highest point all night. So you need some breaks in the clouds to the southeast and south to be able to see this," she said.
There are other viewing factors. "Do you have a lot of tall buildings around?" Nichols said. "Do you have a lot of trees? Are there apartment buildings? Office buildings?"
A big-box store parking lot or park that's open late can be good spots for viewing.
The important thing, though, is to get out and enjoy.
"Sometimes we just need little reminders like this to look up at the sky," she said.
Also, there are objects worth seeing besides the moon. While looking at the moon tonight at around 11 p.m. and beyond, about 20 degrees to the east of the moon is Saturn, which will appear as a light tan-colored dot.