Are you a sky gazer? Like to spend your time looking in the night sky identifying stars and constellation? If yes, then you will get to see a spectacular event on November 14 when the Moon will be the closest to Earth it’s been since January 1948.
During the event, the Moon will appear up to 14% bigger and 30% brighter than an average full moon. This is the closest the Moon will get to Earth until 25 November 2034, so you really don’t want to miss this one.
But what is a Super-Moon?
NASA explains that the Moon has an elliptical orbit, one side – called the perigee – is about 48,280 km (30,000 miles) closer to Earth than the other side (the apogee). When the Sun, the Moon, and Earth line up as the Moon orbits Earth it’s known as syzygy.
When this Earth-Moon-Sun system occurs with the perigee side (closest) of the Moon facing us, and the Moon happens to be on the opposite side of Earth from the Sun (i.e. Earth lies between the Moon and the Sun), we get perigee-syzygy. That causes the Moon to appear much bigger and brighter in our sky than usual, and it’s referred to as a Super-Moon (or more technically, a Perigee Moon).
Super-Moons aren’t all that uncommon – we just had one on October 16, and after the November 14 Super-Moon, we’ll have another one on December 14. But because the November 14 Moon becomes full within about 2 hours of perigee, it’s going to look the biggest it has in nearly 7 decades.
Depending on where you’re viewing it from, the difference between a Super-Moon and a regular full moon can be stark, or difficult to tell. If the Moon is hanging high overhead, and you have no buildings or landmarks to compare it to, it can be tricky to tell that it’s larger than usual.
But if you’re viewing from a spot where the Moon is sitting closer to the horizon, it can create what’s known as ‘moon illusion’ or more technically Ebbinghaus Illusion. If you see this picture you can see there are two orange circles which appear different but are actually the same size. Consider pink circle as Moon and blue circle as the trees, building and valleys on the horizon.
If you’re planning on viewing the November 14 Super-Moon, be sure to get somewhere nice and dark, away from the lights of the city, if you can. You’ll have some awesome opportunities to take pictures with your phone overnight, but if you want to see it at its absolute biggest, it’s expected to reach the peak of its full phase on the morning of November 14 at 8:52 AM EST (13:52 GMT).
Don’t miss it! 😉