What makes a Supermoon Super? November 2016 super full moon bigger, brighter

Published 6:29 pm Saturday, November 12, 2016

It’s time for the biggest, brightest supermoon in decades.

The November Supermoon 2016 will be the closest full moon to earth since 1948 and it won’t happen again until 2034.

What makes a Supermoon super?

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This November 2016 Super Supermoon will be 30 percent brighter, and 14 percent bigger than other full moons. 

Expect to see the full moon rise Sunday (11/13/2016) at about 4:37 p.m. and much of the United States will have clear skies for viewing. It will also be full on the evening of Monday (11/14/2016). Both nights will be perfect for viewing, and you don’t have to stay up late to see it.

It won’t be like last year’s Super Blood Moon, which was a Supermoon combined with a lunar eclipse to give us a dashing red ball of fire in the sky.

From NASA: “The moon is a familiar sight in our sky, brightening dark nights and reminding us of space exploration, past and present. But the upcoming supermoon — on Monday, Nov. 14 — will be especially “super” because it’s the closest full moon to Earth since 1948. We won’t see another supermoon like this until 2034.

The moon’s orbit around Earth is slightly elliptical so sometimes it is closer and sometimes it’s farther away. When the moon is full as it makes its closest pass to Earth it is known as a supermoon. At perigree — the point at which the moon is closest to Earth — the moon can be as much as 14 percent closer to Earth than at apogee, when the moon is farthest from our planet. The full moon appears that much larger in diameter and because it is larger shines 30 percent more moonlight onto the Earth.

“The biggest and brightest moon for observers in the United States will be on Monday morning just before dawn. 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 US).

“If you’re not an early riser, no worries. ‘I’ve been telling people to go out at night on either Sunday or Monday night to see the supermoon,’ said Noah Petro, deputy project scientist for NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) mission. ‘The difference in distance from one night to the next will be very subtle, so if it’s cloudy on Sunday, go out on Monday. Any time after sunset should be fine. Since the moon is full, it’ll rise at nearly the same time as sunset, so I’d suggest that you head outside after sunset, or once it’s dark and the moon is a bit higher in the sky. You don’t have to stay up all night to see it, unless you really want to!’ “