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Aussie eyes to sky as 'supermoon' rises

AAP logoAAP 13/11/2016

Hundreds of people have clambered high above Brisbane to catch a glimpse of the biggest and brightest moon in decades.

Queenslanders and West Australians claimed bragging rights when the so-called supermoon lit up the night sky on Monday, as thick clouds blanketed much of the rest of the country, spoiling many people's views.

The moon came closer to earth than any full moon since 1948 on Monday night. NASA says we won't see another like it until 2034.

Amateur photographers, young families and astronomy enthusiasts jostled for prime position atop Brisbane lookout Mount Coot-tha to watch the rare lunar event unfold.

Brisbane's mild, still and mostly clear conditions on Monday night were a far cry from the bulk of Australia's east coast.

Thousands of people across Sydney lined the coast near popular landmarks to soak in the dazzling night-time rays, but were left largely disappointed at gazing instead at drab grey clouds.

Conditions were more favourable south of the border, with Melburnians urged to exodus the city limits to experience the best view.

Astronomers suggest if sky-watchers take a photograph of the moon on Monday night and then again in a few weeks' time they'll appreciate the difference in scale.

"Unless you are really paying attention it's going to be hard to notice," Associate Professor John O'Byrne from the University of Sydney's physics school told AAP.

"(But) the moon will look genuinely fully illuminated with no hint of a shadow at the edges.

"The difference between the moon at its minimum and maximum is 14 per cent in diameter and that translates to about 30 per cent in area."

That larger surface area means a supermoon reflects almost a third more light than when the moon is farthest from earth. Hence it appearing so bright.

Prof O'Byrne says the moon will be at its brightest after midnight in the early hours of Tuesday.

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