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So What the Heck is a Supermoon?

Written by: Dave Owen

Look to the skies! On November 14, the world will be a treated to a spectacular supermoon display, the full moon appearing to us significantly bigger and brighter than usual as it rises into the winter sky.
So just what is a supermoon? Here’s what you need to know.
A Supermoon, or blood moon


It’s not a scientific term – the official name is ‘perigee full moon.’ The perigee is the moon’s closest point to Earth, and a supermoon is when it happens to be full as it reaches the perigee, making it appear much larger and brighter than normal.

The moon will be 30,000 miles closer than usual

It sounds a lot, but the average distance between the Earth and moon is 238,900 miles, so it’s not that huge a difference.
Still, it means the supermoon will appear 14% larger and 30% brighter than usual.

They’re actually not that uncommon

Approximately every 14th full moon is a proper supermoon, though the full moons either side of that will also be fairly spectacular.
There won’t be another true supermoon until 2018, so make the most of this one!

A Supermoon over London

This will be the biggest supermoon in nearly 70 years

This year’s supermoon will be the closest full moon since 1948, and it won’t be this close again until 2034.

It’s not the end of the world

You might see the supermoon referred to as a ‘Blood Moon’ on account of its orangey appearance as it rises. Some cultures believed it was a sign of impending apocalypse, while others believed it led to insanity or triggered natural disasters.
A supermoon does have some small impact on tidal levels, but is otherwise completely harmless.

Where’s the best place to see it?

The supermoon can be viewed anywhere in the world, and won’t be cancelled out by light pollution, making it an event for cities and rural areas alike.
Your best bet is to find an east-facing beach and be there to see it rise over the horizon.

Find more articles about the world’s natural wonders

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