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The summer of supermoons is here

By Dana Ford, CNN
July 17, 2014 -- Updated 1731 GMT (0131 HKT)
A "supermoon" is seen over a bridge in the center of Skopje, Macedononia, on Saturday, June 12. The phenomenon occurs when the moon becomes full on the same day as its perigee -- the point in the moon's orbit when it's closet to Earth. A "supermoon" is seen over a bridge in the center of Skopje, Macedononia, on Saturday, June 12. The phenomenon occurs when the moon becomes full on the same day as its perigee -- the point in the moon's orbit when it's closet to Earth.
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Supermoon lights up the night sky
Supermoon lights up the night sky
Supermoon lights up the night sky
Supermoon lights up the night sky
Supermoon lights up the night sky
Supermoon lights up the night sky
Supermoon lights up the night sky
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • A supermoon is larger and brighter than an average full moon
  • It happens when the moon is full and at its closest point to Earth
  • One took place Saturday, and others will happen August 10 and September 9

Did you watch the supermoon? Share your photos with CNN iReport.

What's better than a "supermoon"? Three supermoons!

The full moons of this summer -- July 12, August 10 and September 9 -- are supermoons, as NASA calls them.

What is a Supermoon you ask...
2012: iReporter captures super moon over NZ
The biggest and brightest moon of the year rises over a Jerusalem neighborhood on Sunday, June 23. The magic moment happened early June 23, 2013, when the moon was at the closest point to Earth in its orbit. A supermoon, which occurs once a year, is 14% larger and 30% brighter than most full moons, according to NASA. The biggest and brightest moon of the year rises over a Jerusalem neighborhood on Sunday, June 23. The magic moment happened early June 23, 2013, when the moon was at the closest point to Earth in its orbit. A supermoon, which occurs once a year, is 14% larger and 30% brighter than most full moons, according to NASA.
June 2013 supermoon
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Photos: June 2013 supermoon Photos: June 2013 supermoon
The science behind the 'supermoon'

The phenomenon happens when the moon becomes full on the same day as its perigee -- the point in the moon's orbit when it's closest to Earth.

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"Generally speaking, full Moons occur near perigee every 13 months and 18 days, so it's not all that unusual," Geoff Chester of the U.S. Naval Observatory said in a statement from NASA. "In fact, just last year there were three perigee Moons in a row, but only one was widely reported."

Chester was talking about the supermoon that happened in June last year. It was 14% bigger and 30% brighter than other full moons of 2013, and garnered international headlines.

Your stunning photos of starry skies

The moon-loving public from around the world got into the act and posted numerous photos of this weekend's supermoon on Twitter.

"Loving this super moon on the coast of NC tonight." one woman tweeted. "Super moon looks incredible right now!!!" a man tweeted.

NASA stressed that sometimes it's hard to tell the difference between a supermoon and a regular full moon, as clouds and haze can mask a difference in brightness.

"There's a part of me that wishes that this 'super-Moon' moniker would just dry up and blow away, like the 'Blood-Moon' that accompanied the most recent lunar eclipse, because it tends to promulgate a lot of mis-information," Chester said in his statement.

"However, if it gets people out and looking at the night sky and maybe hooks them into astronomy, then it's a good thing."

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