Bring out your blankets and grab a few mugs of hot cocoa because a record-shattering supermoon is set to rise over huge sways of the northern hemisphere next Monday. The November 14 full moon will not only be the biggest full moon of 2016, but it will also be the closest it’s been to Earth since 1948!
So how do you get a supermoon?
As NASA explains, a supermoon occurs ‘because 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 perigee side of the Moon is facing us, and the Moon happens to be on the opposite side of Earth from the Sun, we get what’s astronomers call a perigee-syzygy (confused yet?)
In a nutshell, this solar alignment causes the Moon to appear way bigger and brighter in our skies – up to 14% bigger and 30% brighter than it usually is, hence why they call it a ‘supermoon.’
Supermoons are pretty common (the last major one was back in October) but the next time that the moon will be this close to the Earth won’t be until November 2034. And, according to NASA, ‘this is the one you want to watch out for.’
“When the moon is near the horizon, it can look unnaturally large when viewed through trees, buildings, or other foreground objects,” the space agency continued. They call it an “extra-supermoon:” “The effect is an optical illusion, but that fact doesn’t take away from the experience.”
If you’re based in the US, the supermoon will be visible from sunset on Nov. 13 and 14 and will be at its fullest around 8:52 am EST (7:52 am CST, 6:52 am MST, and 5:52 am PST). For the UK and Europe, peak viewing times will be between 2 am and 4 am next Monday.
The moon will reach perigee (it’s closest point to Earth) within about 90 minutes of those times.
To celebrate this celestial event, here are a few of our favorite shots of some recent supermoons: