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August Supermoon Is 2014's Closest Moon of the Year (PHOTOS)

August 11, 2014

A stunning supermoon dominated night skies around the world Sunday, the second of three consecutive supermoons this summer. Stargazers were treated to the first on July 12 and the second on August 10, while the final show will arrive on September 9.

Supermoons, also called "perigee moons," take place when the moon becomes full at the same time it makes its closest pass by us in its orbit around Earth. As a result, the moon appears bigger and brighter than usual.

(MORE: What is the Supermoon?)

This month's supermoon was expected be the main event of the year, Lorraine Hanlon, associate professor of astronomy at UCD told The Independent. "The moon orbits the earth every 28 days on a slightly rugby-ball sized path," she said. The very closest supermoon is called a "proxigee." It happens once every 13 months and 18 days.

Though the supermoon phenomenon isn't that rare, it can cause a stir when it happens. Social media lights up with moon photos whenever it occurs, and media coverage has been widespread in recent years. NASA says the fascination may come from a poorly understood optical illusion that makes the moon look enormous.

"The illusion occurs when the Moon is near the horizon. For reasons not fully understood by astronomers or psychologists, low-hanging Moons look unnaturally large when they beam through trees, buildings and other foreground objects," NASA Science News explains.

In terms of impact, the supermoon only has a minor gravitational effect on Earth. Other than the change in its appearance, tides will be larger than usual, Earthsky reports.

We have a slideshow of photos below, and we'd love to see your photos. Share your photos with us at weather.com/photos, on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+.

PHOTOS: Supermoon (August 2014)

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