According to astronomers, this month’s supermoon will be the largest, brightest and closest supermoon in 70 years. Scientists calculate that humanity will witness another similar phenomenon in 2034.
So, make sure you don’t miss it on November 14, 2016! But if you live in the U.S., the moon will be closer to the full phase a night before that. In the Pacific islands and the western parts of North America, the full moon will reach its peak shortly before sunrise on Nov. 14.
Experts say, however, the moon will be so bright that it will look full on both nights, Nov. 13 and Nov. 14. It should be visible around sunset, when it rises, reach climax around midnight, and set near sunset in the west.
But the peak of the full phase will occur at 7:52 a.m. CST or 08:52 a.m. EST. That is the time when the full moon will be at its closest point to Earth since January 1948. Experts said the celestial body won’t be as bright and close again for nearly two decades.
A moon that gets so close to our planet is called a perigee full moon. “Perigee” is a term to define the body’s closest point to Earth on a monthly basis. The term “supermoon” gained popularity in 2005. On March 19, 2011, the full moon was once again at its closest point from us. Observers nicknamed it “supermoon.” The word appeared in the following years in the media to describe those years’ closest moons.
But as of today, we use the term quite a lot. This month’s supermoon, for instance, is the third in a string of three consecutive supermoons. Even though a “supermoon” and a “perigee full moon” mean the same thing, “supermoon” is more popular.
The term “supermoon,” however, is much older. Astrologer Richard Nolle is credited for coining the term in 1979. At the time, he defined it as a full moon which happens when the moon is at 90 percent or more of its closest approach to Earth. But according to Nolle’s definition, there are around 4 to 6 “supermoons” every year.
On the other hand, this month’s full moon matches more closely the term “perigee” than Nolle’s supermoons. In November, the full moon will peak just one and one-half hours after it reaches perigee. This means it will be at “proxigee” or its closest point to Earth in a year. On Oct. 31, the moon reached its farthest point from us, the “apogee,” in a year.
On Oct. 16, 2016, another supermoon occurred, but compared to Nov. 14’s supermoon, it is less “super.” In other words, this month’s moon will reach its “full” phase closer to the time it is at perigee.
Astronomers underlined that the last time we saw a supermoon this close to our planet was 68 years ago. On Nov. 14, the moon will stand at a 356,509 km distance from Earth. And the next similar approach will be on Nov. 25, 2034.
Experts now expect unusually high spring tides for this month, since supermoons are always associated with the highest and lowest tides in a year.
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