The biggest “supermoon” since 1948 will grace the sky on November 14. But what makes it so super? Well, not much more than the fact that it’ll be a bit bigger than normal, but that’s absolutely no reason not to go outside and look at it anyway. If you miss it, you’ll have to wait to around November 25, 2034 for another chance.
The moon’s orbit is elliptical , therefore its distance from earth can fluctuate by 30,000 miles. The place in orbit where the moon is closest to earth is called perigee. Syzygy is when the sun, earth and moon all line up as the moon is orbiting the earth. When perigee and syzygy occur simultaneously with the moon positioned opposite the sun, we get to see a supermoon.
If there’s one astronomical event to see this year, it will be the supermoon on November 14th. The moon will be the closest it’s been to the earth since January of 1948.
Our full moon will be 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter than usual, according to NASA. This will make it the biggest “supermoon” in almost 70 years! That might not seem like that much of a difference, but experts say even a small increase in closeness can have a decent visual effect.
Scientists say while the moon is essential for driving things like ocean tides, the effects on Earth from a supermoon are minimal.
This year’s pass will be especially close, making the moon appear extra-spectacular. A “closer than usual” pass to the Earth can happen even when the moon isn’t full, but the effect is much more noticeable when it is.
“When the moon is near the horizon, it can look unnaturally large when viewed through trees, buildings, or other foreground objects,” says NASA. “The effect is an optical illusion, but that fact doesn’t take away from the experience.”
This month, the full moon reaches complete fullness at 8:52 a.m. on Nov. 14, which means the moon might actually appear brighter and fuller the evening of Nov. 13 rather than the 14th. The moon will begin to rise at 5:13 p.m. on Nov. 13, just seven minutes before sunset. It will be completely dark that evening by 5:51 p.m.