A Super, Supermoon!

November 12, 2016

Does a full moon ever grab your attention? You may have seen a really large one last month. That was a supermoon, which is a full moon that is closer to Earth than usual, making it appear larger than normal. If you missed it, don’t worry. There are two more supermoons this year, including a very special supermoon on Monday, November 14th.

But wait: what makes a supermoon super? Why is the moon closer to the Earth in the first place?

Well, the moon orbits or circulates our planet in an elliptical pattern. The nature of its travel means that sometimes the moon will be closer to the Earth than at other times. The point when the moon is the closest to Earth is called perigee. What makes November’s supermoon particularly special is that the moon will become full just two hours from the point of perigee, meaning Monday’s moon will be the closest supermoon in recent decades. The last time a supermoon was this close to Earth was in January 1948, and we won’t see another supermoon like this until possibly November 2034. December’s supermoon, which is the last of the year, will be further away than Monday’s moon, and therefore it will not appear as large. I guess this makes November’s full moon a super-supermoon!

This supermoon will be so big that you really only have to look up to get a good view of it, but experts suggest heading to a place where there is minimal light pollution. We hope you get a chance to watch this lunar spectacular on Monday night.