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If the weather is clear where you are, it should be a sight to see. It happens because -- despite what our senses tell us -- the moon does not orbit us in a perfect circle. It follows a slightly elliptical path every month. At 11:35 p.m. EDT, say astronomers, it will come within 221,802 miles of us -- coincidentally about one minute before it's at its fullest.
Two weeks from now, on the afternoon of May 20, the moon will be in its new phase, passing between Earth and the sun.
The result will be a solar eclipse -- one that will be visible in a strip of the Western United States, stretching southeastward from the Oregon-California border to Lubbock, Texas.
Recall that on Saturday the moon, at perigee, will appear 14 percent larger? On May 20, it will seem 14 percent smaller -- in other words, not quite enough to block the sun.
The result will be what's known as an annular eclipse. A blindingly-bright ring of sun ("ring" in Latin is "annulus") will surround the black disc of the moon.