This weekend: It's a bird, it's a plane...it's supermoon!

A 2011 supermoon as seen from Vina del Mar, Chile. Viewing the supermoon against the horizon creates an optical illusion, making the moon seem bigger than it is.
A 2011 supermoon as seen from Vina del Mar, Chile. Viewing the supermoon against the horizon creates an optical illusion, making the moon seem bigger than it is. Marianne Klock/Flickr/Creative Commons

This weekend the moon will appear bigger and brighter than usual, a phenomenon that's been dubbed a "supermoon."

It happens about once a year and has to do with the moon's orbit.

The moon sails around our planet in an elliptical path. That means that occasionally, about once every 27 days, the moon swings closer to earth than usual. When that happens at the same time as a full moon, the moon will appear slightly larger and brighter.

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However, most people won't be able to notice the difference. This weekend's supermoon will appear a mere 8% bigger than an average full moon, according to Bruce Betts of the Planetary Society.

However, the supermoon could have an affect on the tides, making them about an inch higher, according to Michelle Thaller of NASA.

The supermoon will occur around 4 am PT Sunday, June 23rd. If you miss it, you'll have to wait until August 2014 to see the next one.

Are you planning to catch a glimpse of the supermoon this weekend? Let us know where you'll be watching and be sure to send us a photo for our gallery. You can email, Tweet or Facebook KPCC your best shots.

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