The biggest, brightest and most hashtagged full moon of 2014 dazzled sky watchers around the world on Sunday night. The so-called supermoon is 30 percent brighter and up to 14 percent larger than your typical full moon, NASA says, because it appears at perigee — or the closest point to Earth in its orbit.
And while the August supermoon was the second of three slated to appear this summer (with the third and last coming on September 9), it was also expected to be the most spectacular.
"The two full moons around this one are also close, but not the closest," NASA's Noah Petro told Space.com. "By the strict definition of a supermoon or a perigee moon this one this weekend is the closest full moon of the year. The other ones are spectacular but not quite as close as this one."
According to Space.com, the moon typically orbits about 238,855 miles (384,400 kilometers) from Earth. At 221,765 miles (356,896 kilometers), Sunday's supermoon came about 17,000 miles closer — just under 500 kilometers shy of the closest possible perigee, David Dickinson noted on Universe Today. A full moon won't get that close to Earth again until 2034.
Still, not everyone was impressed.
"This is being touted as yet another 'Super-Moon' by popular and social media for reasons that I still can’t fathom," Geoff Chester, an astronomer at the U.S. Naval Observatory, wrote in a blog post. "For the most part it is a 'non-event' that is almost purely hype."
Judge for yourself.