The “supermoon” set to rise on Nov. 14 will be the closest full moon since 1948 and until 2034.
Supermoons occur because the Earth is not always perfectly centered within the moon’s orbit. The moon orbits the Earth in such a way that sometimes the moon is very close to the Earth, and sometimes it is farther away. The point at which the moon is farthest from the Earth is the apogee, and the moment at which it is closest is the perigee.
The term supermoon actually originated in astrological circles and is not a scientific term.
But it has come to mean a moon that is full when it is closest to Earth — at perigee. For this reason, supermoons are called “perigee full moons” by scientists or “perigee-syzygy.” Syzygy is the term given to the point when the Earth is lined up between the moon and the sun — the conditions that produce the full moon.
There are three supermoons in total for 2016. One was on Oct. 24, and another will rise on Dec. 14. But the moon on Monday will be exceptionally close — at perigee the moon will be the closest it has been to Earth in 68 years. The moon will reach perigee within two hours of becoming full, according to NASA. It is particularly rare for these two events to occur so closely to each other.
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