Monday's tremendous rare supermoon will be largest since 1948

Supermoon
CC BY 2.0 Gk1089

November’s must-see majestic supermoon will be the closest full moon to date in the 21st century.

For those of us moon lovers (lunaphiles?) out there, few things compare to a good supermoon. And this month's supermoon is going to be not just a good supermoon, but a crazy all-out amazing one. Why all the superlatives? Because on the evening of November 14, the moon will be closer to Earth than it has in almost 7 decades – and it won't swing by this close again until November 2034.

Which means that the big glowing beauty will appear up to 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter than a full moon (at apogee).

Astronomy 101: The magic of the supermoon comes courtesy of her elliptical orbit, the perigee side is about 48,280 km (30,000 miles) closer to Earth than the other side, known as the apogee. And when our big three line up – the Sun, the Moon, and Earth – as the Moon orbits Earth, it's called syzygy. (Which, if played strategically, could land you 93 points on the Scrabble board!)

When syzygy coincides with the perigee side of the Moon facing us, and the Moon happens to be on the opposite side of Earth from the Sun, we get what's called a perigee-syzygy, explains Bec Crew.

All of this conspires to offer a much bigger-seeming and brighter moon to grace the sky (and why it is more officially called a perigee moon).

While we're on a nice streak of supermoons – there was one last month and we'll have another one in December, this month's will be extra spectacular because it becomes full within two hours of perigee – and thus will appear as the superest in decades.

"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," explains NASA. "The full moon won't come this close to Earth again until 25 November 2034."

If you're viewing the moon from a stark landscape – well, lucky you – but it will be hard to tell much of a dramatic difference if you're seeing it high up in the sky. But seeing it closer to the horizon with landmarks for scale, it can look absolutely huge. This is known as the the "moon illusion."

"When the moon is near the horizon, it can look unnaturally large when viewed through trees, buildings, or other foreground objects," says NASA. "The effect is an optical illusion, but that fact doesn't take away from the experience."

In fact, consider it one of Mother Nature's best sleight of hand tricks and know that it really is magic. Of sorts.

Tags: Nature | Space

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