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Year's largest 'supermoon' rises Sunday night

The largest full moon of 2014 rises Sunday, brightening the night sky just as the annual Perseid meteor shower peaks.

The moon is full at 2:09 p.m. Sunday, rising at 7:54 p.m. in Baltimore. It's most commonly known as the Sturgeon Moon, and also as the Green Corn Moon and Grain Moon.

It will appear slightly larger than normal, though it's hard to tell with the naked eye, because it coincides with the moon's perigee, when it is closest to Earth. It will be just shy of 222,000 miles away, more than 30,000 miles closer than when it reaches apogee, its furthest point from Earth.

It is the second of three consecutive "supermoons", a non-technical name popularly given to full moons that occur close to perigee. And it will appear as the largest of the three.

According to EarthSky.org, perigee full moons occur about once every 13 months. Next year's perigee full moon falls on Sept. 28.

The full moon unfortunately coincides with the Perseids' annual peak, when about 60 meteors per hour can be seen on the night of Aug. 12 into the early morning of Aug. 13. That number could be lessened as the moon outshines the smallest shooting stars, but others should still be dramatic.

The Perseids come from traces of dust and rock left behind by the comet Swift-Tuttle, which passes by once every 133 years, last in 1992.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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