Neil deGrasse Tyson has an issue with the term “supermoon,” which was used to describe the phenomenon of the moon appearing much larger than normal in the night sky on Sunday. When asked by his co-host, Chuck Nice, about his opinion on the matter on “StarTalk Radio,” Tyson remarked, “I don’t know who first called it a supermoon, but if you have a 16-inch pizza, would you call it a superpizza when compared to a 15-inch pizza?”
He emphasized, “The supermoon is a 16-inch pizza compared with a 15-inch pizza. It’s a slightly bigger moon; I ain’t using the adjective supermoon.”
Tyson further explains why there isn’t a supermoon: “The moon’s orbit around the Earth is not a perfect circle -- sometimes it’s closer, sometimes it’s farther away. At every month, there’s a moment when it’s closest. Occasionally, that moment when it’s closest coincides with a full moon.”
In a somewhat related anecdote, Tyson also pointed out, “Do you know the full moon has no higher tidal effect on Earth than any other phase of the moon?”
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Whatever you want to call the phenomenon, just don’t get Tyson started on the subject. Watch his reasoning behind his stance in the video above.