Supermoon 2012 Pictures

The biggest and brightest full moon of the year is lighting up the sky tonight as our celestial neighbour passes closer to Earth than usual.

Tides are likely to be higher as a result of the supermoon but fears of a spike in crime or an increase in crazy behaviour have been dismissed as pure folklore.

Experts say the Moon will appear up to 14 per cent bigger and 30 per cent brighter as it passes 221,802 miles from earth, around 15,300 miles closer than average. Its distance from Earth varies because it follows an elliptical orbit rather than a circular one.

The phenomenon is known as a perigee full moon but astronomers warn the 'relatively uncommon' celestial event may not amount to much.

Big Apple: The supermoon glows bright behind the Empire State Building and New York City's famous skyline

Washington DC: Glowing over the U.S. Capitol Building in the American capital

Southern Hemisphere: The supermoon seen from Mount Eden in Auckland, New Zealand

Glowing guide: A runner makes his way along a trail in front of the once-a-year 'super Moon' at Papago Park in Phoenix, Arizona

Northern Florida: The moon peaks out behind Century Tower at the University of Florida in Gainesville

Ornate: The full moon rises behind a steeple with crosses of an Orthodox church in the town of Novogrudok, Belarus

Beacon: Fishermen near Bal Harbour in Florida rest on a jetty as the moon rises in the Atlantic Ocean

Wafting: Seen massively larger than a landing plane at the Los Angeles International Airport in Inglewood, California, the moon balances itself among the palm trees

Chopper: In another part of Los Angeles, an LAPD chopper flies in the moon's foreground

Spotlight: The 'supermoon' shines its light on the temporarily closed Hotel Pere Marquette in Peoria, Ill

Rosy: In another perfectly timed shot, a rose bush in Los Angeles,California played in the moon's light, along with a small bug resting on a bud

Dr Robert Massey, of the Royal Astronomical Society, said: 'The eye is so good at compensating for changes in brightness that you simply don't notice that element so much. What you may notice is that the Moon will be a little bit bigger.'

Geoff Chester, of the US Naval Observatory, added the difference in appearance is so small 'you'd be very hard-pressed to detect that with the unaided eye.'

But Dr Massey said it could still be worth glancing up at the sky tonight, adding: 'The moon is always beautiful and a full moon is always dramatic.'

As well as a keen eye and clear weather, sky-watchers will also need to stay up late to notice a significant difference. The Moon is expected to appear at its best in the early hours of tomorrow morning at around 4.30am, just after it hits perigee - the point in its orbit when it is closest to Earth.

Blue pallet: Rising over the Angel's Gate lighthouse in San Pedro, Calif, the moon appears to melt into the light blue sky and water

Dominating: North in San Francisco, the moon challenges Coit Tower

Power: In Palm Springs, California, the moon rose above ordinarily massive wind turbines

Ontario moon: The 'super Moon' is seen rising over the skyline in Toronto, offering a without a doubt unparalleled sight to those in the city's tall CN tower (left)

Brighter: The full moon rises like the Sun from the top of Haramoun mountain, as seen from Marjayoun village in south Lebanon earlier

But scientists say that no matter how far away a full moon is, it is not going to cause natural disasters or make people go crazy, commit crimes or do anything else that popular belief suggests.

Psychologist Scott Lilienfeld, of Emory University in the US, said the notion of full moons causing bizarre behavior is one of the biggest myths because 'it's so widely held and it's held with such conviction.'

He said a reason people cling to the idea could be the way people pay attention to things. If something unusual happens to occur during a full moon, people who believe the myth take note and remember, he argued.

Replica: The full moon provides a stunning backdrop for Kosovo's answer to New York's Statue of Liberty on top a hotel in the capital Pristina this evening

View from the gods: The supermoon rises earlier today above the Temple of Poseidon in Cape Sounion, south east of Athens, Greece, while tourists watch on

Holy night: The brighter than normal moon was clear for all to see in Amman as a flock of birds flew over a mosque

Clear as day: Even before night fell over Dresden, eastern Germany, the moon was looking incredible behind the Church of Our Lady

Almost full: The moon is obscured by the cross of Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) in Dresden, Germany, this evening

But when another full moon appears and nothing out of the ordinary occurs, 'they're not very likely to remember' or point it out to others. So in the end, he said, all they remember are the coincidences.

The last supermoon, on March 19 last year, was about 240 miles closer than this year's will be. Next year's will be a bit farther away than this year's.

It will bring unusually high tides because of its closeness and its alignment with the Sun and Earth, and Dr Massey explained: 'When the moon is closest to the Earth and full or new, you get an increase in the tidal pull in the ocean because the gravity of the moon and the sun line-up.

Supermoon: The full moon appears pink as it appears behind statues of angels at St. Isaak's Cathedral in St.Petersburg, Russia, this evening

Hiding: Seen from Cartagena, Colombia, it can hardly be concealed behind the heavy clouds

Positioning: Other locations in Cartagena, shown, had a more clear view of its enormous sight

Bigger and brighter: The silhouette of a kite makes its way across the moon as it flies past a mosque in Amman tonight

Celestial neighbour: The supermoon in fill view in the sky above South Africa's largest city Johannesburg

Star gazing: The phenomenon is known as a perigee full moon but astronomers warn the 'relatively uncommon' celestial event may not amount to much

Full moon rising: The supermoon filled the sky over Jakarta in Indonesia, but skywatchers in the UK will have the best view at 4.30am tomorrow

Night sky: The perigee full moon peaks through the clouds above Huntsville, US, shining 30 per cent brighter than normal

Don't panic: Fears of a spike in crime or an increase in crazy behaviour have been dismissed as pure folklore.