The moon is set to be at its biggest and brightest in almost 70 years as it makes its appearance in the skies Monday. The so-called supermoon will be caused by its placement at the closest point in its orbit to Earth, meaning it will appear 15 percent larger than the smallest moon of the year.
Supermoon became a term thanks to an astrologer in the 1970s. It refers to a full moon that is at perigee, or at its closest position to Earth along its orbit. The moon is typically about 238,900 miles away from Earth, but was about 221,524 miles away this week.
“The supermoon is a made-up term,” said James Lattis, an astronomer at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “It’s not an astronomical term, there’s no technical definition of it.”
The next so-called supermoon will appear on Dec. 14, but the moon will not look as large as it does Monday again till 2034 and the last time it was this big was in January 1948, according to NASA.
“The difference in distance from one night to the next will be very subtle, so if it’s cloudy on Sunday, go out on Monday. Any time after sunset should be fine. Since the moon is full, it’ll rise at nearly the same time as sunset, so I’d suggest that you head outside after sunset, or once it’s dark and the moon is a bit higher in the sky,” Noah Petro, the deputy project scientist of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter mission at NASA, said.
Here are some pictures of the phenomenon from across the world: