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.
The next supermoon will be November’s full Beaver Moon, which is expected to reach the peak of its full phase on the morning of Monday, Nov. 14, at 8:52 a.m. EST (1352 GMT), but it will appear full to the casual observer in the day before and after the main event. It is the second of three consecutive supermoon full moons for 2016. Live webcasts of this supermoon begin Sunday night (Nov. 13) and run through Monday. Read our Supermoon Webcast Guide for details.
This full moon will be not only the closest and brightest supermoon of 2016 but also the largest since 1948, Bob Berman, an astronomer at the Slooh Community Observatory, told Space.com. What’s more, the full moon won’t come this close to Earth again until Nov. 25, 2034, according to a statement from NASA. The Slooh Community Observatory will offer a live broadcast for November’s full moon on Nov. 13 at 8 p.m. EST (0100 GMT on Nov. 14). You can also watch the supermoon live on Space.com, courtesy of Slooh.
A full moon occurs each month when the sun, Earth and moon line up, with the moon on the side of the Earth opposite to the sun. The term “supermoon” is used to describe a full moon at its perigee — the point in the moon’s orbit when it is closest to Earth, causing it to appear up to 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter in the sky, NASA officials said in the statement.
Naming the full moon
November’s full moon is also called the Beaver Moon because it arrives at the time of year (in the Northern Hemisphere) when hunters would set traps before the waters froze over, to ensure they had enough warm furs for the winter.
The Beaver Moon follows the full Hunter’s Moon of October and the full Harvest Moon of September — both of which are also named for seasonal changes that marked times when people would begin to prepare for the colder months ahead. November’s full moon also has been referred to as the full Frost Moon, according to The Old Farmer’s Almanac.
The Slooh Community Observatory will offer a live broadcast for November’s full moon on Nov. 13 at 7:00 p.m. EST (0000 GMT on Nov. 14). You can also watch it live on Space.com, courtesy of Slooh.
To round out the trifecta of supermoons for 2016, December will see its full Cold Moon peak on Dec. 13 at 7:05 p.m. EST (0005 GMT on Dec. 14).
“The supermoon of December 14 is remarkable for a different reason: It’s going to wipe out the view of the Geminid meteor shower,” NASA officials said in the statement. “Bright moonlight will reduce the visibility of faint meteors five- to ten-fold, transforming the usually fantastic Geminids into an astronomical footnote. Sky watchers will be lucky to see a dozen Geminids per hour when the shower peaks.”
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