Supermoon on the Horizon

Tonight and tomorrow night are the prime times to see the biggest event of the year! Look to the sky and you will see the Full Beaver Moon, but it is a special full moon this month. Known as the supermoon, it is a full moon that coincides with the moon being in the closest position in its orbit too the Earth.

lunar-apogee-perigee-orbit

Image credit to NASA

The moon travels in an elliptical orbit around the Earth, such that one side of the orbit is closer to the Earth than the other. This causes the moon to appear brighter in the sky during times in the Perigee and less luminescent during times it is in the apogee. The moon will be at its brightest and look the biggest in the sky right when it becomes full.  Unfortunately for us here in North America, that happens right before and during sunrise, so you will have to either get up early or try and catch the moon before it disappears in the brightening morning sky! Either way, it should make for some great photo opportunities! Do not fret! The moon will also be visible on Monday night in its “full” glory!

Supermoons, as grandiose as the name sounds, are named solely for their size and not their rarity. Supermoons occur roughly every 13-14 full moons, which equates to around 1 a year. The rarity of these supermoons is when they occur during the Perigee. The last time the moon was this close to the Earth was back on January 26, 1948! The next time the moon will be this close to the Earth is going to be in a couple of decades on November 25, 2034! Make sure to get out and take some pictures of this spectacular spacey spectacle!

 

Photos: This year’s supermoon from our telescope!

 

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