This month’s supermoon will be the largest in nearly 70 years. On November 14th, people will be able to see the moon extremely close-up, the result of the moon’s elliptical orbit and the position of Sun and Earth. This phenomenon is called the “supermoon”, which is just another way to say that the moon will look larger than normal. On November 14th the moon will appear to be about 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter than a normal full moon.
While there have been many supermoons in history, this month’s full moon is not normal. In fact, this supermoon will be the largest since 1948. This is because the moon does not travel around Earth in a perfect circle. Instead, the moon travels in an elliptical orbit, which means the moon’s distance from earth is not always the same. The moon’s average distance from earth is 238,855 miles but, on November 14th the Moon will be only 223,690 miles away.
It’s important to note that when the moon is this close unique scientific phenomena starts to happen. The moon’s gravity pulls at the earth causing the rises and falls in sea levels, this is why you will see tides in lakes. But, on November 14th, the moon will be so close to Earth that the ocean tides will be higher.
The next time the moon will be this close will not happen again until November 25, 2034. “The full moon of November 14 is not only the closest full moon of 2016 but also the closest full moon to date in the 21st century. The full moon won’t come this close to Earth again until November 25, 2034,” NASA explains in a statement.
The phenomenon will happen again on December 14th but, it will not be as bright as November’s supermoon. However, NASA explains December’s supermoon will be so bright it will hide the Geminid meteor shower.
“The supermoon of December 14 is remarkable for a different reason: it’s going to wipe out the view of the Geminid meteor shower. Bright moonlight will reduce the visibility of faint meteors five to ten fold, transforming the usually fantastic Geminids into an astronomical footnote. Sky watchers will be lucky to see a dozen Geminids per hour when the shower peaks. Oh well, at least the moon will be remarkable,” NASA explains.