Amateur and professional skygazers alike will soon have the opportunity to witness the Moon at its closest point to Earth since 1948.
This super-supermoon will be visible in the night sky on Monday, November 14. As Sky and Telescope highlights, the Moon and Earth will be just 216,486 miles apart at 6:23 a.m. Eastern Standard Time on Monday but won’t be exactly full until 8:52 a.m. EST. As such, most viewers in North America will see the moon as its best the previous evening (tonight).
The tiny difference in distance between tonight and tomorrow will be undetectable to most viewers.
The Moon’s orbit around Earth isn’t a perfect circle but rather, slightly elliptical. This explains why it’s taken nearly 70 years for our satellite to once again come so close to Earth. Even with it being so close on November 14, the Moon will only appear eight percent larger across and 16 greater in area compared to its average. It will, however, be 23 percent brighter than your run-of-the-mill full Moon.
If you’re interested in photographing the super-supermoon, you’ll be best served using a DSLR or mirrorless camera and a tripod. As is the case with photographing fireworks, try and get some shots of the Moon rising up over the horizon with buildings or landscapes for contrast.
Fun fact – the Moon rising or setting along the horizon creates an illusion in which it appears to be much larger than it is. In reality, it’s the same size coming or going over the horizon as it is when it’s fully overhead.
If you miss this celestial event, you’ll be in for a long wait as the next super-supermoon is scheduled to occur on November 25, 2034.
Lead image courtesy Dennis di Cicco, second image courtesy Laurent Laveder, Sky and Telescope