(HELENA) The supermoon craze is back, as this coming full moon will be the biggest in 70 years. In this week’s weatherwise, while it is true, the term supermoon is being used too often.
It’s true, this coming full moon on November 14th will be the biggest and brightest since 1948. Compared to a regular full moon, this supermoon will appear up to 14% larger and 30% brighter.
But do you remember October’s full moon was a supermoon? And December’s full moon will also be a supermoon. So that means 2016 will end with three straight supermoons, which sounds super ridiculous.
Do you ever recall hearing about a supermoon even 5 years ago? The term supermoon has entered popular consciousness in only the last few years. Originally it was a term from modern astrology for a full moon that occurs when the moon is within 90% of its closest approach to earth but now, the term refers more broadly to a full moon that is closer to earth than average.
The truth is, the orbit of the moon around the earth is an ellipse, not a perfect circle, so the distance between the earth and moon is always changing. When the moon is farthest away from the earth, properly termed apogee, the distance is approximately 252,000 miles away. When the moon is closest to the earth, properly termed perigee, the distance is about 225,000 miles. That’s almost a difference of 30,000 miles, which is longer than the circumference of the earth.
Next week’s supermoon will be a mere 221,526 miles away, the closest pass until the year 2034. But I guarantee you’ll hear the word supermoon a few more times before then.
Astrophotography; behind the photos of Aurora Borealis
Reporter: Curtis Grevenitz