Tuesday, 8 November 2016
At right, the August 29, 2015 supermoon. At left, the March 5, 2015 ‘micro-moon’ – smallest full moon of the year. Photos by Peter Lowenstein in Mutare, Zimbabwe.
Earth Heal will be hosting a group distant healing event on 14 November, when there will be the closest full moon since 1948...
By Deborah Byrd
The closest full moon since 1948 is coming up on November 14. When should you watch? What should you watch for? Are supermoons hype? Here’s all you need to know.
On November 14, 2016, the moon will be closer to Earth than it’s been since January 26, 1948. It’ll be a full moon and a supermoon. The moon won’t come this close again until November 25, 2034. That makes upcoming full moon the closest and largest supermoon in a period of 86 years! Here are five things you need to know.
Moon equally awesome on November 13 and 14
Are supermoons hype? No. Here’s what to look for
Supermoons can create super tides
Closest moon nearly always a full moon
Supermoons happen in cycles
Mother and sons watch a 2013 supermoon rise through cloud cover at Tempe Town Lake in Arizona. Photo via Kathleen Kingma. Read more about this image.
Moon equally awesome on November 13 and 14. Here’s the first and most important thing you need to know. Many articles we’ve seen about the coming supermoon say to look for it on November 14. But – for many of us, especially those of us in the Americas – the moon will be just as big and bright (if not bigger and brighter) on November 13.
That’s because the moon will reach both the crest of its full phase – and its closest point for the month (perigee) – very early in the day on November 14 according to clocks in the Americas.
Perigee comes at 11:23 UTC (6:23 a.m. ET) on November 14.
Full moon crests two-and-a-half hours later at 13:52 UTC (8:52 a.m. ET) on November 14.
Translate to your time zone
So – for all of us in the Americas – the moon is closest to being full and closest to Earth on the morning of November 14, not the evening. That means that – for all U.S. time zones, including Alaska and Hawaii – the supermoon falls closer to the night of November 13 than November 14. That’s especially true if you are a morning person and plan to observe the supermoon before dawn.
Don’t stress too much about this. The moon will be big and bright both nights! And both nights will be an awesome time to moon-gaze or take photographs.
August 10, 2014 supermoon, the closest one for that year, via Damian O’Sullivan in Ireland.
Are supermoons hype? No. Here’s what to look for The term supermoon is relatively new (read their history here). Before we called them supermoons, we in astronomy called them perigean full moons. Catchy, eh? Well … not so much. Most people ignored these moons until the term supermoon came along.
What’s special about a supermoon? Finely tuned instruments – or composite images – show that a supermoon is indeed closer to Earth and thus bigger than an ordinary full moon.
But most of us can’t detect that difference, using just our eyes. Experienced observers, meanwhile, do sometimes say they can detect a size difference between ordinary full moons and a supermoon.
So, if the rest of us can’t see that a supermoon actually appears larger in our sky, why do we get so excited about supermoons? Here are two things to notice about the November 13-14 supermoon.
First, for all of us, the brightness of the moon will increase noticeably around supermoon-time. All full moons are bright, but supermoons are substantially and noticeably brighter than ordinary full moons. So … notice the brightness, not the bigness, of the moon on November 13 and 14!
Second, the moon’s gravity affects earthly tides, and a supermoon – full moon closest to Earth – pulls harder on Earth’s oceans than an ordinary full moon. That’s why supermoons create higher-than usual tides. Read on …
Deik Haigler Photography wrote of the September 2015 supermoon tide: “We almost got stuck out the Marsh Boardwalk when this King High Tide came in over the boardwalk…”
Supermoons can create super tides.
Are supermoons hype? Just ask the oceans! All full moons bring larger-than-usual tides
, called spring tides or, in some places, king tides.
Supermoons bring the highest, and lowest, tides of all.
If you live along a coastline, watch for high tides caused by the November 14 supermoon for a period of several days after November 14. These tides tend to follow the date of full moon by a day or two.
Will the high tides cause flooding? Probably not, unless a strong weather system moves into the coastline where you are. That was the case with the high supermoon tides of September, 2015. That supermoon – combined with an 18.6-year lunar cycle, and a tropical storm – caused high tides and some flooding on both sides of the Atlantic.
So keep an eye on the weather around November 14, if you live along the coast. Storms do have a large potential to accentuate high spring tides, especially those caused by supermoons.
Moon is closest to Earth at perigee and farthest away at apogee. When the full moon aligns with perigee – as it does on November 14, 2016 – it’s a perigee full moon or supermoon. By the way, the moon’s orbit is much closer to being a circle than this diagram suggests! Image via NASA.
Closest moon nearly always a full moon. We wondered … is it the closest moon (in general) since 1948, or the closest full moon? Turns out those two tend to be one and the same.
Because of gravity, and the intriguing interplay of the sun, Earth and moon (and, to a lesser extent, the planets), the closest perigee of any given year is often the one that aligns most closely with full moon.
For the moon to appear full, the sun, Earth and moon need to be aligned, with Earth in the middle. During that particular alignment, the tidal pull of the sun and moon combine to create wide-ranging spring tides. And full moons at perigee create perigean spring tides...
Read more: Earth Sky