The superstitious among us should beware of extra-big werewolves this weekend, as the second supermoon in as many years rises this Saturday, May 5. A supermoon occurs when a full moon coincides with the moon’s perigee (the point at which it is closest to Earth), making it appear especially big and bright in the sky, Space.com reports.
The moon will be at its fullest on Saturday at 11:35 p.m. E.T., at which point it will also be at perigee — just 221,802 miles (356,956 km) from Earth. Skywatchers can expect to see the moon shining 16% brighter than usual. Experts say tides will be particularly high and low, but the difference won’t be enough to bring about any natural disasters.
(PHOTOS: See pictures of a dramatic lunar eclipse)
Last year’s supermoon, which fell on March 19, was reportedly the biggest and brightest in 18 years.
We should feel lucky that this year’s perigee isn’t coinciding with Earth’s closest approach to the sun, which happens every January. As TIME’s Michael D. Lemonick reported earlier this year, two physicists found that the combination of the moon’s perigee with Earth’s closest approach to the sun on Jan. 3, 1912, could have been responsible for the Titanic’s sinking that April. The combined gravity of this positioning led to a cycle of unusually high and low tides, Lemonick explained. In fact, the tides were higher than they’d been in hundreds of years, helping set free icebergs that were usually grounded and send them on a collision course toward the ill-fated ocean liner.
Thankfully, we’ve dodged that twist of fate this year. All we have to do is sit back and enjoy the view, which is best seen just after the moon rises and just before it sets, when it’s close to the horizon. If you want the effects to be even more impressive, try viewing the moon through some trees or buildings, Space.com advises, for an optical illusion that will surely make the moon look super.
And watch out for those werewolves.