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Catch this week’s supermoon, biggest and brightest of year

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FILE – In this Nov. 14, 2016 file photo, evergreen trees are silhouetted on the mountain top as a supermoon rises over over the Dark Sky Community of Summit Sky Ranch in Silverthorne, Colo., Monday, Nov. 14, 2016. A supermoon will rise in the sky Tuesday evening, April 7, 2020, looking to be the biggest and brightest of the year. Not only will the moon be closer to Earth than usual, it will also be a full moon. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey, File)

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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — A supermoon rises in the sky this week, looking to be the biggest and brightest of the year.

Not only will the moon be closer to Earth than usual, it will also be a full moon. Scientists call this cosmic combo a supermoon. The moon will be 221,855 miles (357,042 kilometers) away at its fullest Tuesday night, making it appear larger and more brilliant.

NASA is encouraging everyone to look skyward, whether it’s outside or through a living room window.

Scientist Noah Petro of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland said the important thing is to stay safe while moon-gazing during the pandemic.

“If you can’t get out safely … then fine,” Petro said. “Go out next month or whenever it’s safe again. Use the full moon as an excuse to get out and start looking at the moon.”

He added: “Use this as an opportunity to not physically distance yourself, but emotionally connect with something that is physically far from us.”

There’s a string of supermoons this spring. So if you miss the upcoming lunar show, catch the next one May 7.

In mid-April, the waning moon will pass by Saturn, Jupiter and Mars, clustered in the southeastern sky before dawn.

All this comes after a brilliant Venus passed a few days ago in front of the Pleiades, the so-called Seven Sisters star cluster.

“We’ve really been fortunate to have some good astronomy — backyard astronomy or living room astronomy,” Petro said.

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The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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