(NEW YORK) — Stargazers who stayed indoors Sunday night missed out on a real treat. The biggest and fullest moon of the year — a supermoon — lit up the night sky.
A supermoon occurs when the Earth is at its closest distance to the moon.
The full moon occurred at 2:09 p.m. EDT, according to Space.com. This means that while onlookers in North America were treated to a spectacular moon on the horizon at nightfall, they were technically looking at a waning gibbous moon.
There are four to six supermoons every year, and during those times, the moon is 30,000 miles closer to the Earth than the normal distance. NASA tweeted that the August supermoon was expected to be 14 percent closer to Earth and 30 percent brighter than other full moons.
While this supermoon was billed as the best of 2014, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson pointed out on Twitter that it was only slightly more superior than the last full moon on July 13.
July’s full moon is to August’s “Super Moon” what a 16.0 inch pizza is to a 16.1 inch pizza. I’m just saying.
— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) August 11, 2014
If you’re kicking yourself for missing the free show in the sky, you have another chance.
Put Sept. 8 on your calendar — that’s when the next supermoon is expected to light up the sky.
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio
Christopher Dawson, CNN
Ali Larkin, CNN
Madeline Holcombe, CNN
Ashley Strickland, CNN