The largest full moon in more than 18 years – a so-called "supermoon" – did not disappoint eager skywatchers around the world Saturday when it rose, big and bright, into Earth's night sky. The full moon of March was 221,565 miles on Saturday, March 19 just 50 minutes after it hit its full phase, making it the biggest and brightest full moon since 1993. The "supermoon" phenomenon occurred because the moon was in its full phase and just 50 minutes past perigee – the point of its orbit that brings it closer to Earth.
This year's biggest full moon also gained notoriety after erroneous claims that it would spark waves of natural disasters around the world. NASA scientists and others dismissed the fringe lunar disaster claims as nonsense, but did admit the moon should look spectacular. Saturday's full moon appeared 14 percent larger and 30 percent brighter than the smallest full moons Earth sees, though the difference wasn't immediately apparent to some skywatchers.