Supermoon appears Monday

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HOLT, Fla., Nov. 11, 2016—Look to the skies this Monday and check out one of nature’s best light shows.

The second and largest of this year’s supermoons happens Nov. 14. That evening, the moon will be the biggest, brightest and closest to earth in the last 68 years—an extra supermoon.

November’s moon will be as much as 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter than normal monthly full moons.

Even though the moon will actually be at it’s fullest point Sunday night, Monday’s moon will be at it’s closest point to the earth, closer than an average full moon and the closest of the 21st century.

As with all full moons, the gravitational pull of the moon affects tides. However, this month’s full moon can cause larger-than-usual tides.

The term supermoon comes from modern astrology rather than astronomy. Astrologer Richard Nolle coined the term in a 1979 article for the magazine Horoscope. On his website, he defined supermoon as “a new or full moon which occurs with the Moon at or near (within 90% of) its closest approach to Earth in a given orbit. … Earth, Moon and Sun are all in a line, with Moon [sic] in its nearest approach to Earth,” an alignment called syzygy (yes, a real technical term).

Only when the sun, moon and earth are perfectly aligned is the moon at 100 percent full; however, that results in another astronomical event, a lunar eclipse.

November’s full moon is referred to as the beaver moon, according to the Farmer’s Almanac. October’s moon was the hunter’s moon and September’s was the harvest moon. See below for other moon names.

The last time a supermoon of this magnitude occurred was Jan. 26, 1948. The next time North America sees a moon like this will be Nov. 25, 2034, 18 years from now.

So, if the clouds cooperate, be sure to take a moment to enjoy this astronomical event.

Stephanie Holcombe


Moon Names (from the Farmer’s Almanac)

January          Wolf
February        Snow
March             Worm
April                Pink
May                  Flower
June                  Strawberry
July                   Buck
August             Sturgeon
September     Harvest
October           Hunter’s
November      Beaver
December       Cold

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