S U P E R L U N A

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This year, the full moons of October, November and December all take place when the moon is at its closest point of approach in its orbit around Earth — a so-called supermoon.

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This full moon will be not only the closest and the brightest supermoon of 2016, but also the largest since 1948.

The name super moon has been given to describe the rare lunar experience where the moon is closer to our planet than it has been in over 69 years. According to NASA the lunar disc will appear to be 14% bigger and up to 30% brighter than usual.

NASA, who describe the event as “undeniably beautiful”, has shared tips on Facebook on the best way to take pictures of the event – seeing as it won’t happen again until 2034, we don’t want to mess it up!

The November 14, 2016 supermoon was 356,511 kilometres (221,526 mi) away from the center of Earth, the closest occurrence since 1948. It will not be closer again until 2034.

Thefull moon cycle is the period between alignments of the lunar perigee with the sun and the earth, which is about 13.9443 synodic months (about 411.8 days). Thus approximately every 14th full moon will be a supermoon. However, halfway through the cycle the full moon will be close to apogee, and the new moons immediately before and after can be supermoons. Thus there may be as many as three supermoons per full moon cycle.

Since 13.9443 differs from 14 by very close to 118, the supermoons themselves will vary with a period of about 18 full moon cycles (about 251 synodic months or 20.3 years). Thus for about a decade the largest supermoons will be full, and for the next decade the largest supermoons will be new.

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There has been media speculation that natural disasters, such as the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami and the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami, are causally linked with the 1–2 week period surrounding a supermoon. A large, 7.5 magnitude earthquake centred 15 km north-east of Culverden, New Zealand at 00:03 NZDT on November 14, 2016 , also coincided with a supermoon. No evidence has been found of any correlation between supermoons with major earthquakes

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