Moon glows bright: PICTURES

The full moon appears bigger and brighter at the moment because it's closer to earth than usual. 

This phenomenon is commonly called a "super moon". 

Bendigo District Astronomical Society member Graeme Knight explained a super moon appeared when a full moon coincided with the closest approach the moon makes to earth on its elliptical orbit. 

The moon's distance from earth varies each month between 357,000 and 406,000 kilometres. 

So a super moon is when a full moon is 357,000 kilometres away.

Mr Knight said the moon looked particularly close when just appearing on the horizon.

"It's interesting, when it's closest to the horizon it looks really big to us. Because it's near to the horizon, we have a point of reference and our minds make us think it looks closer than it is."

Astronomical Society member Tony Morris said a super moon appeared 14 per cent larger and 30 per cent brighter than an ordinary full moon.

There will be three this year. The first was officially on Saturday night, the next will be August 10 and the next on September 9. 

While Mr Knight and Mr Morris are mainly interested in the scientific explanation for super moons, they did offer some musings about why full moons attract superstition.

"Because there's more light, there's more activity. People are out and about more because there's more light. There really is no hard and fast scientific evidence that the moon will affect peoples' minds as much as what the superstition will have you think," Mr Knight said.

Mr Morris said he was walking around his Junortoun property on Saturday night under the moon's light.

"I don't stumble around anything like that. It's really quite light," Mr Morris said.

He said a lot of animals preferred to hunt when there wasn't a full moon because they could conceal themselves better in the darkness. 

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