Bright moon and meteor shower to light up night sky

Anyone blessed with a clear sky tonight will be treated to the sight of the biggest and brightest full moon to be seen for 15 years.

Each month the Moon makes a full orbit around the Earth in a slightly oval-shaped path, and tonight it will swing by the Earth at its closest distance, or perigee. It will pass by 356,613km (221,595 miles) away, which is about 28,000km closer than average.

The perigee also coincides with a full moon, which will make it appear 14 per cent bigger and some 30 per cent brighter than most full moons this year. As a backdrop, the Geminid meteor shower will also be visible tonight. Up to 100 meteors an hour are expected to appear.

The proximity of the moon means that its gravity will create a slightly higher tide than normal for a full moon, adding around half a metre to the high-water mark.