It will be the closest Full Moon since Jan. 26, 1948, reaching perigee on Nov. 14 just 2 hours and 22 minutes before turning Full.
The Earth is in for a show it hasn’t seen in 80 years. Supermoon 2016 is coming, and it will be unlike past supermoons in that this month’s Full Moon will not only be the closest this year, but the closest in the last eight decades.
The Supermoon refers to when the moon reaches its closest point to Earth in its elliptical orbit of the Earth, which takes it from 362,600 km to 405,400 km from the Earth every 27.55 days, which is the lenght of the orbit. The Supermoon is when the Full Moon happens within 24 hours of apogee, whereas the Minimoon is when the Full Moon is within 24 hours of apogee.
The Moon will reach perigee on Nov. 14 just 2 hours and 22 minutes before turning Full. That’s the closest perigee of the year, and the closest Full Moon since Jan. 26, 1948. The next time a Full Moon will be this close to Earth will be on Nov. 25, 2034.
“The term supermoon has entered popular consciousness in recent years,” NASA said in the statement. “Originally a term from modern astrology for a new or full moon that occurs when the moon is within 90% of its closest approach to Earth in a given orbit, supermoon now refers more broadly to a full moon that is closer to Earth than average. But why is the moon closer to Earth at some times but not others?
“Since the moon’s orbit is elliptical, one side (perigee) is about 30,000 miles (50,000 km) closer to Earth than the other (apogee). The word syzygy, in addition to being useful in word games, is the scientific name for when the Earth, sun, and moon line up as the moon orbits Earth. When perigee-syzygy of the Earth-moon-sun system occurs and the moon is on the opposite side of the Earth from the sun, we get a perigee moon or more commonly, a supermoon!”