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On November 14th, you should take a look at the night sky because the Moon is going to be putting on a show. For the first time in 68 years, the Moon’s orbit places it at its closest to Earth during a period of time when the Earth, Sun, and Moon are all aligned. The phenomena, known as a supermoon, makes the moon appear extra large and extra bright and only happens very rarely. Astronomers haven’t had a chance to see the Moon like this since 1948 and a lot has changed in respect to telescopes and imaging technologies.

The Moon’s orbit

The term supermoon was coined by astrologer Richard Nolle and designates when a full moon happens near its closest approach to Earth. The Moon has an elliptical orbit and it travels back and forth from the farthest away it can be from Earth (apogee) and the closest it can be (perigee). In fact, on the night of the supermoon, the moon will be about 48,280 km closer than it usually is.

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Can you say syzygy?

moon's orbit

When the Earth, Sun, and the Moon are all aligned it is known as a syzygy and when the Moon is closest to the Earth it is at its perigee so astronomers properly refer to a supermoon as a perigee-syzygy. But you won’t have to be an astronomer on the night of the 14th to notice the Moon is 14 percent larger and 30 percent brighter.

The Moon illusion

supermoon

One of the best ways to get a good look at the supermoon is by taking advantage of something called a Moon illusion. Quite simply when the Moon passes near the horizon or travels near anything in the skyline like a tall building or mountain, the Moon will appear even larger than it normally does. This effect coupled with the circumstances of a supermoon are going to make for a night time spectacle that shouldn’t be missed.

Repercussions of a full Moon

Oddly enough the question of whether or not the supermoon has an effect on our health is a question people are asking. It has often been theorized that full Moons have some relationship with things like seizures and psychological problems. Some going as far as to blame serious geological events such as earthquakes and tsunamis on the Moon’s periodic close proximity to Earth.

But continually there has been no link found between the two. Some people ask whether or not the Moon’s pull doesn’t have some sort of a tidal effect on the water in our bodies but tides are a matter of massive difference in gravitational pull over one object, the Earth.

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So if your planning to take a look at the most recent supermoon, don’t be afraid it’s impacting your health. They actually happen more often than you think, it’s the perigee-syzygy Moon that is far rarer. A supermoon happens almost every 412 days, but the next perigee-syzygy Moon will take place on November 25th, 2034.

Don’t miss out on the largest Moon of the 21st century. To see the Moon at it’s biggest make sure to look up in the sky at 9:52 a.m. AST, 8:52 a.m. EST, 7:52 a.m. CST, 6:52 a.m. MST, or 5:52 a.m. PST – the supermoon should reach its largest within an hour to an hour and a half of these times.

Sources

Sun Gazing. The Largest Super Moon in 70 Years Is about to Rise and Break All The Records. http://www.sun-gazing.com/largest-super-moon-70-years-rise-break-records/ Accessed: November 8, 2016.

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Science Alert. The best places to watch Monday’s record-breaking supermoon. http://www.sciencealert.com/the-best-places-to-watch-monday-s-record-breaking-supermoon Published: November 8, 2016. Accessed: November 8, 2016.

Popular Mechanics. Next Week’s Supermoon Will Be the Largest Since 1948. http://www.popularmechanics.com/space/moon-mars/a23734/november-14-supermoon-largest-since-1948/ Published: November 7, 2016. Accessed: November 8, 2016.

Omits Group. Supermoon. http://research.omicsgroup.org/index.php/Supermoon Accessed: November 8, 2016.

Live Science. Moon Myths: The Truth about Lunar Effects on You. http://www.livescience.com/7899-moon-myths-truth-lunar-effects.html Published: April 18, 2016. Accessed: November 8, 2016.

Youtube. November 14 Supermoon will be the largest since 1948. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ls4e6HS1Lek Published: November 3, 2016. Accessed: November 8, 2016

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