Friday night will be the first full moon of 2010 and the biggest full moon of this year a phenomenon commonly called Wolf Moon, Old Moon or Ice Moon.
Today the moon will be at it's closest point to the Earth. Astronomers call this point the perigee and the phenomenon the perigee Moon. The moon will be at its closest point from Friday night through Saturday morning.
The combination of the full moon and perigee make this full moon very bright compared to other full moons this year, NASA Planetary Scientist Barbara Cohen said Friday during a live chat.
It is expected that the moon is some 14 percent wider and 30 percent brighter than lesser full Moons of the year, according to Spaceweather.com. Viewers can look at the perigee Moon with telescopes (on any magnification), use binocular or the naked eye.
A good time to look is on Friday around sunset when the Moon is near the eastern horizon. The Full Moon looks so much larger against the horizon than in the sky because of an illusion greatly contributed by the perpective of foreground objects.
Although Friday is the full moon, it will look nearly full on Saturday night, Cohen said.
Perigee moon also causes higher than normal ocean tides, because the closer the moon, the higher the tides, Cohen said. They increase by a tiny bit (millimeters), she noted.
Also today, Mars will be closer to earth than usual and will be visible next to the moon. NASA said the Red Planet will be only 99 million kilometers away this week and will look bigger through a telescope than at any time between 2008 and 2012.
Looking at the moon with the naked eye, Mars will be within a fist of the Moon tonight (Friday), Cohen said. Mars will look like an orange star but it won't twinkle like other stars, she noted.