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Biggest & Brightest Supermoon after 68 Years
Nov 15, 2016

A Supermoon happens when a full moon makes its closest approach to Earth in its elongated orbit. The occurrence of 14 November’s Supermoon was special because the moon broke a 68-year record of closest approach to our planet. The satellite’s usual orbit keeps it 385,000 km away from Earth on average. On November 14, it came 25,000 km closer before moving back away.

The moon turned full at 7.22 p.m. IST on November 14. At its peak, it appeared nearly 14% bigger and 30% brighter. And because it’s winter, the moon was even closer to Earth than it would’ve been in summer.

The next Supermoon is next month, on December 14. However, the moon then won’t seem as big as of November 14. The last Supermoon this big occurred on 1948 and the next one of similar size will be on November 25, 2034.

The Closest pass: The moon’s orbit around Earth is slightly elliptical, so sometimes it is closer and sometimes farther away from the planet. The average distance between Earth and the moon is 384,500 km but the actual distance varies throughout the year, between 363,396 km and 405,504 km. To be called a Supermoon, the moon has to be both at its closest distance from Earth as well as full.

Supermoons are not rare: One in about every 14 full moons is a Supermoon. By the time 2016 ends, it will have seen three Supermoons—on October 16, November 14, December 14. 

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