Look up tonight, supermoon on the rise

Photo: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

Photo: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

As the moon reaches full phase Monday, Nov. 14, it will be the closest it’s been to Earth since 1948. There will not be another supermoon like this until 2034.

Astrophysicist James Webb provides some insight into this fascinating phenomenon.

  • A supermoon is when the moon is full and happens to be at perigee, or closest approach to Earth.
  • Perigee represents the largest size in kilometers that the moon ever attains in the sky as seen here from Earth.
  • The moon’s orbit is elliptical instead of circular, so its distance from Earth ranges from an average of 362,500 km, or 225,247 miles, at closest approach (perigee) to 403,400 km or 250,661 miles at its furthest (apogee).
  • The Nov. 14, 2016 supermoon will be 356,511 km, or approximately 221,524 miles from Earth.

The ideal time to capture the best sights of the supermoon is Nov. 14 just after sunset. It will appear to be 7 percent larger than average and nearly 15 percent brighter. Weather permitting, FIU’s Stocker AstroScience Center will be open to the public starting at 6 p.m. for stargazers to get an up-close and personal look at tonight’s supermoon through 9 p.m.

“We want to give folks an opportunity to enjoy the full moon,” Webb said. “Knowing that it is as close as it will get until Nov. 25, 2034 might make people appreciate the giant satellite we have orbiting above our heads a little bit more.”

Visit the Stocker AstroScience Center website for more information about this and other star gazing events.