A rare supermoon will make an appearance early Monday just before dawn. According to NASA, the moon will appear especially bright because it’s the closest it has been to Earth since 1948.
We won’t see another supermoon like this one until Nov. 25, 2034.
November supermoon is a “Beaver Moon”
November’s full moon has a special name: Beaver Moon. The Old Farmer’s Almanac tells us why:
“The November’s full Moon was called the Beaver Moon by both the colonists and the Algonquin tribes because this was the time to set beaver traps before the swamps froze, to ensure a supply of warm winter furs. It was also called the Full Frost Moon by Native Americans.”
Best times to see the supermoon
The full moon of November 14, 2016 is not only the biggest, closest and brightest supermoon of this year. It’s the closest supermoon since January 26, 1948. Should you watch for this full moon on the night of November 14? Sure, and, if you do, it’ll be beautiful. But, for us in the Americas the moon is closer to full on the night of November 13.
The moon turns precisely full on November 14, 2016 at 13:52 UTC. This full moon instant will happen in the morning hours before sunrise November 14 in western North America and on many Pacific islands, east of the International Date Line.
In Asia and Australia, the moon turns precisely full during the evening hours of November 14. In New Zealand, it actually happens after midnight November 15. Around the longitudes of Europe or Africa, look both nights.
Better yet … everyone, look both nights!
The moon will look plenty full and bright all night long on both nights – November 13 and 14 – as it rises in the east around sunset, climbs highest up around midnight, and then sets in the west at or near sunrise.
Why do we have a supermoon?
The presence of a “supermoon” has to do with the lunar orbit.
The moon’s orbit around the Earth is slightly elliptical, so sometimes it’s closer and sometimes it’s farther away. When the moon is full as it passes closest to the Earth, it’s called a “supermoon.” At that point, it can be as much as 14 percent closer to the Earth than at apogee, or when it’s furthest away.
The proximity makes the full moon appear much larger in diameter and because it is larger, it shines 30 percent more moonlight onto the Earth.
When’s the next supermoon?
The moon won’t come this close to Earth again until November 25, 2034.