A rare supermoon is set to light up skies on 13 and 14 November, as the satellite orbits closer to earth than it has done for 70 years. The full moon is expected to appear at its biggest and brightest since January 1948.
Because the moon orbits the Earth in an oval shape, sometimes it is closer to our planet than at other times. When the moon is closest to Earth it is described by astronomers as being in the perigee stage. When it is further away, this is the moon’s apogee.
A perigee stage supermoon appears about 14 per cent bigger and 30 per cent brighter than an apogee full moon.
Known as the Beaver Moon or Frost Moon, this one will be exceptionally large and bring higher than normal tides. “The full moon of Nov. 14 is not only the closest full moon of 2016 but also the closest full moon to date in the 21st century,” Nasa said in a statement, adding the full moon will not come this close to Earth again until 25 November 2034.
So what is the best way to see it?
Try to go somewhere dark, as other lights can diminish the bright appearance of the moon and make it more difficult to see. If you can, leave the city, and view the rare celestial event from the countryside.
Photographers advise hobbyists to download apps and maps to track the moons expected progress across the sky – even if you do not want to take photographs it might be worth doing this just to work out where and when to get the best possible view.
Try and watch the moon as it approaches the horizon, this can create an optical illusion which will make it look even bigger and more spectacular. And if you miss it, or if clouds obstruct your view, do not worry too much: there is due to be another supermoon on 14 December, although it will not be quite as large as the November one, which is the biggest so far this century.