On Monday, a once-in-a-lifetime Supermoon will light up the sky. The moon will be full and pass to Earth at its closest point, making it appear 30% brighter and 14% larger. According to NASA, this is the closest full moon since 1948 and isn’t going to happen again until November 25, 2034.
This Supermoon is also known as a frost moon, or beaver moon, with the occurrence happening in November. Early colonists and Native Americans used to set their traps this time of year as swamps and creeks would see a frost and freeze.
Since the moon’s orbit is elliptical, one side (perigee) is about 30,000 miles closer to Earth than the other (apogee). The word syzygy, in addition to being useful in word games, is the scientific name for when the Earth, sun, and moon line up as the moon orbits Earth. When perigee-syzygy of the Earth-moon-sun system occurs and the moon is on the opposite side of the Earth from the sun, we get a perigee moon or more commonly, a supermoon!
On Monday, Nov. 14, the moon is at perigee at 6:22 a.m. EST and “opposite” the sun for the full moon at 8:52 a.m. EST (after moonset for most of the U.S.). NASA scientists recommend choosing the least cloudy period – Sunday night or Monday night to view the event.
This is actually the second of three Supermoons in a row, so if clouds don’t cooperate for you either night, you will have another chance next month to see the last Supermoon of 2016 on Dec. 14.