Stars is setting its sights on the moon next week.

On the date of the third supermoon in a row, the downtown restaurant will throw a party featuring a pair of cocktails with lunar names and free Salty Moon Trail Mix. Entrance to the Sept. 9 rooftop bar event, which gets rolling at 6 p.m., costs $10; the fee includes two drink tickets. Attendees can also purchase oysters and moon pies for $1 apiece.

A supermoon occurs when a full moon is in the perigee stage of its orbit, meaning it's 50,000 kilometers closer than when it's in the apogee side of its elliptical path. Despite the difference in distance, astronomers attribute the belief that supermoons look bigger than run-of-the-mill full moons to an illusion.

"For reasons not fully understood by astronomers or psychologists, low-hanging moons look unnaturally large when they beam through trees, buildings and other foreground objects," a NASA blog post explains.

Because non-astronomers are often primed for a supermoon, they seek it out soon after nightfall and experience the illusion associated with seeing the moon near the horizon.

"I guarantee that some folks will think it's the biggest moon they've ever seen if they catch it rising over a distant horizon, because the media will have told them to pay attention to this particular one," the NASA blog post quotes the US Naval Observatory's Geoff Chester as grumping. "There's a part of me that wishes that this 'super-Moon' moniker would just dry up and blow away."

The name's probably not going anywhere, but you might as well enjoy the supermoon while it's still scientifically-sanctioned. For more information on the Stars party, call 577-0100.