What is a supermoon?
When the moon is full as it makes its closest pass to Earth, it is known as a supermoon.
Why “closest” pass?
The moon’s orbit around Earth is slightly elliptical, so sometimes it is closer and sometimes farther away from the planet. The average distance between Earth and the moon is 384,500 km but the actual distance varies throughout the year, between 363,396 km and 405,504 km (Figure 1). To be called a supermoon, the moon has to be both at its closest distance from Earth as well as full.
Are supermoons rare?
Not really. One in about every 14 full moons is a supermoon, University of Wisconsin astronomer Jim Lattis told Reuters. By the time 2016 ends, it will have seen three supermoons — on October 16, November 14, December 14.
So what makes Monday’s event so significant?
The fact that it will be the…
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