So, What's a Supermoon?
All moons are not created equal. Well, actually they are-they just don’t look equal. Since the moon does not orbit the earth in a circle, there are times when it’s actually closer to us than others. It’s called an “elliptical orbit”, and at its closest path (“perigee”), is about 30,000 miles closer than at the farthest point (“apogee”). Since the moon will obviously look bigger when it’s closer to us, it is known as a “Supermoon”. The moon will appear to be about 14% bigger and 30% brighter than when it is at the farthest point.
Exactly When is This Happening?
Actually, we already had a “Supermoon” last month. In case you missed it, there are two more: November 14 and December 13. Those are the next two full moons, and if there are no clouds, it should be quite noticeable. Of course, the moon on the 13th and 15th won’t look that much different-it’s a gradual thing. The moon rises at 5:20pm on November 14th, so the appearance should be amazing. It already appears to be bigger when it’s near the horizon, so it will look gigantic while low in the sky right during the PM rush! It should look just about as spectacular on December 13th.
How Rare is This?
In case it’s cloudy (or you miss them somehow), the “Supermoon” of this size will happen again. But you’ll have to wait awhile. It comes in 2034!
For a more detailed explanation and animations, click here.