Final Supermoon of 2016

Herman Weaver
December 15, 2016

Look, up in the sky. Is it a plane? The final supermoon of 2016.

Supermoons can be up to 14% bigger and 30% brighter than normal full moons - and appear closer due to the moon's wonky orbit (see below). 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!

A super moon occurs when a full moon or new moon debuts at the same time as the moon's closest approach to Earth in its elliptical orbit, resulting in the largest and roundest appearance of the moon when viewed from Earth. Not to be eclipsed by its predecessor, the latest supermoon was just as attractive as the last.

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According to the Old Farmers Almanac, Native American cultures that tracked the calendar by the moons, associated the December full moon with the onset of the winter solstice, the time of the month when winter cold bears down and the nights become long and dark.

November's supermoon was the closest to Earth since 1948 and it will not come this close again until November 25, 2034. It was a pleasant event to watch when the bright supermoon and the fainter shooting stars in the Geminids graced the night sky. The full moon will reach its peak fullness tonight at 7:05 pm EST (0005 GMT on December 14).

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