Largest Supermoon in over 60 years lights up Sunday sky

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Supermoon from Lakewoods Resort in Cable, Wisconsin. Shared by David Cooper.

The biggest and brightest moon that many of us have ever seen will shine on North America on Monday November 14. This will mark the largest Supermoon since 1948. 

What is a Supermoon? A Supermoon is a full moon that directly aligns with the moon’s perigee, or the point at which the moon is closest to the Earth in its elliptical, or egg shaped orbit.

While a Supermoon isn’t exactly an all that rare occurrence, we are actually finishing 2016 with 3 in a row from October through December, this particular one will occur within 2 hours of the moon’s instantaneous perigee, something that hasn’t occurred since nearly World War 2.

What can you expect to see? Well, to be entirely frank, if you aren’t really paying attention, you probably won’t even notice a difference.  BUT, the moon will be about 15 percent bigger and appear 30 percent brighter on a clear night than it would when the moon is fully lit at its apogee, or the farthest point in its orbit around the Earth.  The biggest change though will come when the moon is rising Monday evening because the optical illusion that the Earth’s atmosphere can give both the sun and moon on the horizon can make them both look bigger. Think of looking at an object through a curved lens or a glass bottle...things appear bigger.  Well the atmosphere has a similar effect on objects in space.  With the moon already larger and brighter than normal, in the right conditions, the moon could appear twice as large on the horizon as it normally would, giving you an out of this world impression of our celestial orbiter.

What to look for: To see this huge moon, look for it to rise right around sunset Sunday night, November 13 and will be in the sky till dawn or so Monday.  At the moment, looks like skies will be plenty clear so enjoy the show, because another moon like this won’t come around again until the year 2034!