Star gazers will be able to revel in Monday’s rare supermoon, when the moon’s elliptical orbit will bring it closer to the Earth than it has been in nearly 70 years, causing it to appear bigger and brighter than ever.

The supermoon will make the full lunar disk appear 14 per cent bigger and 30 per cent brighter than usual on Monday as it comes closer to the Earth than it has done since 1948, and there will be nothing to match it until a similar event on 25 November 2034.

The moon will be at Perigee – the point at which it is closest to the Earth in its elliptical orbit -  at 11:23am UK time on Monday, when it will be 221,525 miles (356,510km) away, but it is unlikely to be seen until the full moon emerges at around 5pm.

In addition to Monday’s supermoon making the moon appear bigger and brighter in the sky, there will also be a “low hanging moon” effect. This is an optical illusion caused by the moon being close to the horizon and makes it easy to measure it against familiar landmarks or objects such as trees or houses.

Robin Scagell, vice-president of the Society for Popular Astronomy, said: "It will be above rooftops and trees and chimneys and always appears bigger that way because you're comparing it to foreground objects.

"I'm always pleased for people to get their binoculars out and look up at the craters and the seas."

People have been able to observe the effect of the supermoon from Sunday night. Noah Petro, deputy project scientist for Nasa’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) mission, said the difference between Sunday and Monday’s supermoon will be very subtle and that he has been telling people to look for it on both nights any time after sunset.

“Since the moon is full, it’ll rise at nearly the same time as sunset, so I’d suggest that you head outside after sunset, or once it’s dark and the moon is a bit higher in the sky. You don’t have to stay up all night to see it, unless you really want to,” he said.

Supermoons occur when a close approach is accompanied by a full moon. Monday's event is the biggest and best in a series of three supermoons, the first of which was on 16 October and the third is due on 14 December.

Besides looking spectacular, the supermoon will give tides, which are affected by the gravity of the moon and sun, a small boost. High and low tides usually reach their peak during a full or new moon.

Additional reporting by PA

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