The term supermoon is a recent invention. It came into common use in , but appears to have been coined back in by Richard Nolle , who describes himself as a "certified, professional astrologer. The Moon's eccentric elliptical orbit causes its distance from Earth to vary during each revolution. The nearest point is called perigee; the farthest, apogee. Not to scale. Because the Moon's orbit is an ellipse instead of a circle, its distance from Earth varies during the month from about , miles , km at perigee, or closest approach, to , miles , km at apogee.
Changing the distance causes the Moon's size and brightness to change as well. Or hold the image of the November supermoon in your mind's eye and compare it to the next micromoon on June 8, A comparison of the Moon at its closest to Earth left and farthest. Laurent Laveder. How about a measuring device?
Close one eye and use the other to determine the slot into which the Moon fits snugly. Mark the date under that slot and its width in millimeters. Make a simple Moon-measuring device by cutting slots of different widths in an index card. It's not hard science but will serve to measure larger differences in lunar diameter with the naked eye.
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It works best when the Moon is visible in twilight because the brighter sky background makes the slots easier to see. Several times each year, the full Moon occurs within a day or two of perigee, making supermoons somewhat common Not only will November's full Moon occur at the closest perigee of the year, but the "stretchiness" of the lunar orbit will bring it in even closer.
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These panels show the sky to the east at nightfall on the dates of the last, current, and future supermoons. Even though the Moon will be closest on November 14th, it's depicted on the 13th center panel , when most North American observers will be out watching. The event found the Moon in the company of Mars and Saturn. During the next, the Moon will occult numerous Hyades star cluster stars and Aldebaran. Maps: Bob King, Source: Stellarium. But the Sun's the biggest culprit — its gravitational attraction is more than twice as large as that between Moon and Earth. Add all these effects together, and the Moon's eccentricity the amount by which the orbit deviates from a circle varies from 0.
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A circle has an eccentricity of 0. In a word, the Moon's perigee distance varies. Apogee too, naturally! If a new or full Moon lies at the apogee or perigee point, the shape of the Moon's orbit can be slightly altered, resulting in a closer perigee than normal and an exceptional supermoon. Perigee and apogee distances also vary if a new or full Moon occurs at either point. Then all three bodies — Earth, Moon, and Sun — are in a straight line and exert their greatest gravitational attraction on one another. Earth and Sun in effect tug the Moon a little bit closer yet.
And if this alignment happens within a few months of the Earth being closest to the Sun, when the Moon feels the Sun's gravity strongest, our satellite can snug up even closer to us. And wouldn't you know, we're closest to our star from November through February.
All these conditions will be met on November to make the supermoon the most amazing until This psychological trick our eyes and brain play on us makes the Moon appear much larger when viewed near the horizon than higher overhead.
Click here to find out exactly when the Moon will rise for your location. Share November's supermoon with friends and family. The Moon will make its grandest impression at moonrise November 13th and before moonset the following morning for the Americas. Click the image to find out when the Moon rises for your town. For much North America, the supermoon will be closest and brightest during the overnight hours of November 13—14 — Sunday night and Monday morning until moonset.
The moment of maximum supermoonness occurs at UT a. EST Monday morning, November 14th, so everyone across the Americas will have the chance to see the Moon when it's at its closest, although it will be minutes before setting if you live on the East Coast. Compare this to the average distance of , miles , km , a tenth of a light-second farther off. Those living in the western half of the U. In the eastern hemisphere, including Europe and Africa, the Moon will be a little closer on the evening of Monday November 14th.
Times are included below so you can explore your inner lunatic:. Cloudy skies on the big night? Click over to the Virtual Telescope Project for a live view. Gianluca Masi.
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If the weather's bad from your town on both the 13th and 14th, you can fall back on the Web. Eastern November 14th. In November, the early colonists and Algonquin tribes set beaver traps before the swamps froze to ensure a good supply of warm furs for the coming winter. Tides are always higher at new and full Moons due to the alignment of Sun, Earth, and Moon, but an extra-close Moon will also mean higher tides than normal. If you live along a coast line, watch for these on November 14th and several days after.
Quite wonderful, isn't it, that so many small gravitational influences can add up to produce such a singular event. It makes us feel connected to the cosmos in a very real way.
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Clear skies! September will be very busy. We have a record amount of aspects - basically, no planet will remain unaspected. There will be A LOT going on. We have some wonderful supportive aspects in Earth signs, but also several dynamic T-squares which will demand action. We have a New Moon in Virgo on August 30th, This New Moon is very very Virgo because we have 5 personal planets in Virgo if we count, of course, the Sun and the Moon , which is pretty unusual.
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Venus and Mars are the two relationship planets, and they meet up in conjunction once every 2 years or so, starting a new relationship cycle. We hold our values and our values hold us.
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On the other side of the zodiac, the Moon raises her eyebrows.