If you decide to observe only one astronomical event this year, let it be the Supermoon in November, when the moon will be closest to Earth, the first time since 1948.
During this event, which will take place on the eve of November 14, the moon will appear 14 percent larger and 30 percent brighter than an average full moon, writes Mystical level. Next time the moon will come this close to Earth will be on November 25, 2034, so you really don’t want to miss this one.
NASA explains that the moon has an elliptical orbit, and one side – called perigee – is about 48,280 kilometers (30,000 miles) closer to Earth than the other (apogee / climax).
The phenomenon when the Earth, the Moon and the Sun align is called syzygy.
When this Earth-Moon-Sun line-up happens with the moon’s perigee facing us (the point at which the moon is closest to Earth), and the moon is on the opposite side of Earth from the Sun, we get what is called perigee-syzygy.
Therefore, the moon looks bigger and brighter in the night sky than usual, and this is called Supermoon or, in more technical terms, perigee moon.
“The full moon of November 14 is not only the closest full moon of 2016, but also the closest full moon to date in the 21st century,” says NASA. “The full moon will not come this close to Earth untill November 25, 2034.”
Depending on where you look, the difference between a supermoon and a regular full moon might be hard to spot. If the moon is high above your head, and you do not have buildings or objects to compare it to, you might not be able to tell the difference.
But, if you look from the place where the moon sits closer to the horizon, it can create what is known as as “an illusion months”.
“When the moon is near the horizon, it can look unnaturally large when viewed through trees, buildings, or other foreground objects,” says NASA. “The effect is an optical illusion, but this fact does not diminish the experience.”
Here are some examples from 2014:
If you plan on watching the Supermoon on November 14, the best way to do it is to find yourself a comfortable, dark spot, away from the city’s light pollution.
If you want to see in its full size, it will reach its full phase on the morning on November 14 at 8:52 ET (13:52 GMT).
Here’s a little taste of what’s to come:
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