Noticing that this weird term Supermoon going around a lot now-a-days, aren’t you? What does it mean exactly? Well, the name itself has the answer to your question. You’ll see the moon in the biggest size possible when compared to other normal days.
The Supermoon which is going to happen on November 14, 2016 is a result from the convergence of two astronomical happenings:
- Full moon.
- Lunar Perigee (the point in the orbit of the moon or a satellite at which it is nearest to the earth and the exact opposite of it is called “apogee”).
To have an extra-close Supermoon, you need another astronomical event to happen simultaneously with the other two, which is, Earth being at perihelion. A perihelion means that Earth is at the closest point to the sun for that particular year.
Perks of Supermoon:
- The Supermoon, which is going to take place on November 14, 206 at 11:23 Universal Time (UTC) will bring the moon closer to Earth than it has been since January 26, 1948.
- The same event wouldn’t happen for another 18 years, i.e., until November 25, 2034.
- This makes November 14, 2016 full moon all the more special by being the closest and the largest supermoon in a period of 86 years!
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- On November 14, 2016 at 11:23 UTC, the distance between the two centers, i.e., of Earth and moon, will be the smallest for the year, i.e., 356,509 kilometers.
- Just yesterday, i.e., on October 31, 2016, the moon was on its farthest point for the year, i.e., 406,662 kilometers.
- That would be a staggering difference of 50,000 kilometers in the moon’s distance from the Earth in just two weeks’ time! (Wow! Too fast, isn’t it?)
- The biggest thing is that the full moon appears on November 14, 2016 at 13:52 UTC, only two and one-half hour after the moon sweeps to perigee at 11:23 UTC.
In the past:
The same event which took place sometime in the past was on January 26, 1948. The distance between the Earth and the Moon was just 356,461 kilometers! (People must have been wondering why it happened and probably lead to be more superstitious, think so?)
Here is a list of dates on which the centers of the moon and Earth span less than 356,500 kilometers from the 20th century.
January 4, 1912: 356,375 km
January 15, 1930: 356, 397 km
January 26, 1948: 356, 461 km
In the future:
After nearly 18 years, i.e., on November 25, 2034, full moon and perigee will simultaneously occur to bring the moon to less distance than what it is going to be on November 14, 2016, i.e., 356, 445 km.
A list of dates on which the centers of the moon and Earth span less than 356,500 kilometers in the 21st century.
November 25, 2034: 356, 445 km
December 6, 2052: 356,421 km
December 17, 2070: 356, 442 km
December 28, 2088: 356, 499 km
January 17, 2098: 356, 435 km
So, don’t miss out on watching the Supermoon on November 14, 2016. May be carry your DSLR cam to some place where it is quiet and far away from city and put it to a good use by taking some pictures of the moon? May be share those photos with us?
Have fun sky-watching! 🙂
Image Courtesy: Space.com