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Watch out for the supermoon setting a 68-year record

You’ll never have seen it so big or so bright: this November's supermoon will be a stunning natural phenomenon this week, the largest to grace our skies in 68 years

Staff Reporter
13 November 2016, 7:26pm
A supermoon rises near the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., on March 19, 2011. Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls
A supermoon rises near the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., on March 19, 2011. Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls
Snap an awesome photo of the supermoon wherever you are and share it on Instagram @maltatoday, or on Facebook ‘MaltaToday’, or send it to [email protected]

This year, the full moons of October, November and December all take place when the moon is at its closest point of approach in its orbit around Earth — a so-called supermoon, Space.com reports.

The next supermoon will be November’s full Beaver Moon, which is expected to reach the peak of its full phase on the morning of Monday, 14 November at 2:52pm CET, but it will appear full to the casual observer in the day before and after the main event. It is the second of three consecutive supermoon full moons for 2016.

This full moon will be not only the closest and brightest supermoon of 2016 but also the largest since 1948, and the full moon won’t come this close to Earth again until 25 November 2034.

A full moon occurs each month when the sun, Earth and moon line up, with the moon on the side of the Earth opposite to the sun. The term “supermoon” is used to describe a full moon at its perigee — the point in the moon’s orbit when it is closest to Earth, causing it to appear up to 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter in the sky, NASA officials said in the statement. 

November’s full moon is also called the Beaver Moon because it arrives at the time of year (in the Northern Hemisphere) when hunters would set traps before the waters froze over, to ensure they had enough warm furs for the winter. 

Back-to-back supermoons

To round out the trifecta of supermoons for 2016, December will see its full Cold Moon peak on December 14 at 1:05am.

“The supermoon of December 14 is remarkable for a different reason: It’s going to wipe out the view of the Geminid meteor shower,” NASA officials said in the statement. “Bright moonlight will reduce the visibility of faint meteors five- to ten-fold, transforming the usually fantastic Geminids into an astronomical footnote. Sky watchers will be lucky to see a dozen Geminids per hour when the shower peaks.”

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