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Biggest and brightest 'supermoon' of the year to rise tonight

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The full super snow moon is pictured on February 8, 2020, in Oregon, USA
The full super snow moon is pictured on February 8, 2020, in Oregon, USA   -   Copyright  AP
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If you can get a good view of the night sky from a balcony, window, or a garden while under lockdown tonight, keep an eye out for a "supermoon".

A "supermoon" is when a full moon combines with when it is at its closest to Earth as a result of its elliptic orbit.

The result is the moon appears slightly larger than normal from Earth. Tonight's is expected to be the biggest and brightest of 2020.

It will be visible from both the north and south hemispheres - weather permitting.

It will appear 17 per cent larger and 30 per cent brighter than a normal full moon, says NASA scientist Noah Petro, who is encouraging people to enjoy the site while keeping safe during the coronavirus pandemic.

"I know right now folks are perhaps under some restrictions for when they can get outside, but if it's a clear night, and you have a great view to the south, you should be able to catch a glimpse even outside of your own residence of the moon hanging beautifully in the sky," he said.

He explained that the moon doesn't orbit the Earth in a perfect circle. Instead it has a slightly elliptical orbit, meaning at time it it closer and at times further away from the Earth.

"You don't need to have super fancy high tech equipment, just your naked eye," he said, adding even with a camera phone you can take a decent picture of the moon when it's this size.

Petro says these moments are something that ties everybody together, even if they are currently isolated due to the coronavirus restrictions.

"Whether your hunkered down in your home in central England, or you're hunkered down in your home in suburban Washington DC, or in south-east Asia, you'll be able to see ultimately the same moon. It's something that we can share globally. And right now, at this point in time, having something that connects us all, I think is really important."

In general the "supermoon" can be seen around 7 or 8 pm wherever you are but check this moonrise calculator on timeanddate.com for more precise timings.