A typical penumbral eclipse, barely discernible.

Space Telescope Science Institute

A typical penumbral eclipse, barely discernible.

May Super Moon Bigger Than Life, Plus a Tiny Eclipse

The venerable and ever-faithful moon actually orbits Mother Earth at different distances throughout the year, and for the next few months our satellite is on the perihelion side, our trusty sky experts tell us.

When the moon rose at 7:47 p.m. over the East Coast of Turtle Island on Friday May 24, it was just a hair short of full. The exact moment of fullness arrives early on the morning of May 25, soon after midnight at 12:25 a.m.

Just before that, at 11:53 p.m. the moon will graze the outer part of Mother Earth’s shadow in what is known as a penumbral eclipse. This will create the teensiest shadow, so slight as to be barely visible, though the Slooh Space Camera will broadcast it starting at 11:37 p.m. Eastern Time. The moon will be at its deepest in Earth's shadow at 12:10 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time, according to Space.com.

"It will thus be impossible to notice anything out of the ordinary concerning the moon's overall appearance," columnist Joe Rao explained on Space.com. "It will, in fact look like any other full moon."

That one will be a doozy, one of three giant full super moons coming up through July as the moon stays on the closer end of its orbit to Earth. 

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