Supermoon visible this weekend

RICHMOND, Va. — We will be able to see the second of this year’s three supermoons this weekend into Monday.  With the moon closer to the earth than normal, it will appear bigger and brighter in the sky.

supermoon-sizes

The moon’s orbit is elliptical.  It’s closest point to earth is called perigee, and is about 30,000 miles closer to Earth than when it’s at its farthest point, the apogee. When the Earth, sun, and moon line up as the moon orbits Earth, and the moon is on the opposite side of the Earth from the sun, we get a perigee moon — which is also known as a supermoon.

supermoon-perigee

There are three supermoons this year:  October 16, November 14 and December 14.  However, Sunday into Monday will mark the closest a full moon has been to the Earth since January 26, 1948.   The next time this will occur will be November 25, 2034.

During supermoons, the moon appears up to 14% bigger and 30% brighter.  While the moon actually turns full at 8:52 a.m. on Monday, you will be able to notice the change in appearance over the weekend.

supermoon-brightness

Diagrams and data provided by NASA