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'Supermoon' leaves Southern California spectators in awe

May 5, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
The so-called "supermoon," the largest full moon of the year, glowed brightly in the skies over Southern California on Saturday night.

So, what made this full moon so super? At its closet point in its elliptical orbit around the Earth, the moon was about 17,000 miles closer than its average distance. That made it appear 7 percent larger and 15 percent brighter than average.

Griffith Observatory is a magnet for unusual events in the sky, and Saturday was no exception.

"It's magical, just magical," said Ellen Mallek of West Hills. "Every time there's a full moon I think people get happy, and this is just unbelievable."

The best viewing for the supermoon, known technically as a perigee moon, was between 8:30 p.m. and 8:45 p.m. With the dark sky and moon low on the horizon, spectators got a good look at Earth's natural satellite.

"It's beautiful," said Studio City resident Esmerald Calpito. "I haven't seen the moon this bright in a long time, and it's a beautiful night out here. The Griffith Observatory is the perfect place to be."

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