ST. GEORGE – Monday night’s full moon is expected to be spectacular as the moon comes closer to Earth than any full moon since 1948. The moon won’t be this close to the Earth again until November 2034.
Supermoons are larger and brighter than usual because the moon is closer to the Earth, and Monday’s full moon, which will rise around 6 p.m., promises to be extra-special, according to information from NASA.
The distance between the Earth and the moon varies over time because the moon’s orbit is not a perfect circle but rather elliptical, or egg-shaped.
This elliptical orbit brings the moon about 30,000 miles closer to the Earth at times – which is called perigee. When the full moon occurs around the time of perigee, the result is a supermoon.
Monday’s full moon occurs within about two hours of perigee, making it an “extra-super moon,” NASA information states.
Supermoons can be as much as 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter than when the moon is farther from Earth, NASA states.
This supermoon is one of a series of three, occurring Oct. 16, Nov. 14 and Dec. 14.
The Dec. 14 supermoon will occur during the Geminid meteor shower – moonlight reduces visibility of meteor up to ten-fold, NASA states.
Use of the term supermoon in popular culture is a recent phenomenon, according to information from NASA.
The term was originally used by astronomers to describe a new or full moon that is within 90 percent of the moon’s closest approach to Earth. It is now used to refer to a full moon that is closer to the Earth than average.
November’s full moon was known as the “Beaver Moon” by both colonists and early Native American tribes because this was the time of year to set the beaver traps before the swamps and rivers froze, according to The Old Farmer’s Almanac. It has also been known as the “Frost Moon.”
According to the National Weather Service, clear skies are expected Monday night.
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