Look Up — The Moon Is Going To Be Amazing This Weekend
This weekend, you might want to take a moment to look up at what promises to be a spectacular supermoon.
Added bonus: It's also a hunter's moon. "That's because in other months, the moon rises about 50 minutes later each day, while the October moon rises just 30 minutes later," National Geographic explains. "That offers more light overall during a 24-hour day, which came in handy for traditional hunters."
Viewing will be at its best on Sunday, when the moon is both full and "at its closest point to our planet as it orbits Earth," according to NASA. National Geographic advises that the best time to see it is as it rises on Sunday evening.
NASA says the term supermoon simply means a "full moon that is closer to Earth than average." It explains why the moon is sometimes closer to Earth in this handy video:
"Since the moon's orbit is elliptical, one side (perigee) is about 30,000 miles closer to Earth than the other (apogee)," NASA says. "The word syzygy, in addition to being useful in word games, is the scientific name for when the Earth, sun and moon line up as the moon orbits Earth. When perigee-syzygy of the Earth-moon-sun system occurs and the moon is on the opposite side of the Earth from the sun, we get a perigee moon or more commonly, a supermoon."
At its closest point this weekend, the full moon will be 222,365 miles from Earth — on average, it's 238,855 miles away, according to National Geographic. It will also "appear 16 percent larger than average and nearly 30 percent larger than the year's smallest full moon."
This kicks off three straight months of supermoons — you can also catch them on Nov. 14 and Dec. 14.
The November moon is set to be a real show-stopper: According to NASA, it is "not only the closest full moon of 2016 but also the closest full moon to date in the 21st century." And it won't be this close to Earth again until 2034.
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