The workings of our solar system are infinitely interesting. Even though we learn more almost every day about the endless space around us, sometimes the celestial classics have the chance to amaze.
A Supermoon is a frequent phenomenon compared to disparate otherworldly events such as Halley's Comet or the Transit of Venus, but it's a moment easily experienced and shared without the need of a pricey telescope. Plus, it's really great excuse to go stargazing.
As far as Supermoons go, this is one of the biggest and brightest. Last month's giant-sized satellite drew wide and maybe unwarranted attention from the internet, but this big guy will reach its perigee (or closest point to Earth) as soon as it becomes a full moon. Unfortunately, this will happen at 2:09 p.m. ET, so for most U.S. viewers, you'll actually be seeing a waning gibbous moon in the night sky.
Despite its close proximity, even this moon will be a little bit smaller than the Supermoon that put apocalyptic fear in a few people back in March of 2011. Space.com argues that the mainstream press should back away from the "Supermoon" moniker and reserve such an occasion for lunar perigees that are "coming within 99 percent of its closest possible approach." If citizen astronomers did adopt this strict rule, tonight's moon would just barely miss the cut by 13 miles.
Regardless of some nit-picky fact-checking, this will be the biggest and baddest moon of the year, so brush up on some Supermoon viewing techniques, get out there, and snap a few pics (which you should graciously share with us in the comments). And even if it looks like any normal night, just gaze in awe anyway.
Here's a sneak peak of tonight's massive lunar event by Russian cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev aboard the ISS.
— Oleg Artemyev (@OlegMKS) August 10, 2014
Image by David McNew/Getty Images