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November's 'Supermoon' the Biggest in Nearly 70 Years: Where, When, How to See It

Oct 28, 2016 04:58 AM EDT
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The supermoon on November 14 is expected to become the biggest and brightest since almost 70 years.

A supermoon occurs when the moon is at its closest point of approach in its orbit around Earth. According to NASA, the term supermoon became popular in recent years, referring to a new or full moon that is within 90 percent of its closest approach to the planet, which makes it 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter in the sky.

Since the moon's orbit is elliptical, one side (perigee) is about 30,000 miles closer to Earth than the other (apogee). When the Earth, Sun and the moon line up as the moon orbits Earth (syzygy), and the moon is on the opposite side of the Earth from the Sun (perigee-syzygy), a perigee moon or a supermoon occurs.

This year, the supermoon is expected to appear three times. The first supermoon graced the night sky on Oct. 16. The next ones will occur on Nov. 14 and Dec. 14.

When, Where, How to See it

The full moon on Nov. 14 will be the closest and brightest supermoon since 1948, and the next time the full moon will come this close again will be on Nov. 25, 2034, Space.com reports.

The moon will become full within about two hours of perigee, which will make it an "extra"-supermoon. According to Space.com, November's supermoon is also called Beaver Moon, as it arrives at the time of year when hunters are said to be setting traps on the swamps before they froze over to make sure they will have enough furs for the winter. The Beaver Moon follows the October's full Hunter's Moon and September's full Harvest Moon.

 A live broadcast of November's supermoon will be provided by the Slooh Community Observatory on Nov. 13 at 7:00 pm EST.

Back-to-Back

December's supermoon will also be remarkable as it will wipe out the view of the Geminid meteor shower. According to NASA, the moonlight will reduce the visibility of the meteors, transforming the Geminids into an astronomical footnote.

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