NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) – Monday night marks yet another Supermoon that will round out 2016. This Supermoon though will be the closest full moon to our planet since 1948 and we won’t see another this close until August 2034! The moon is currently near its perigee, which is its closest point to earth. When a full moon occurs near the perigee, the moon is referred to as a Supermoon (although this term has only come around recently).
The official time of the full moon will be 7:52 in the morning on Monday, however the moon will have already set from the previous night by that point so you’ll have to wait until the moon rises again at 5:39 p.m. The moon will set at 7:26 a.m. on Tuesday so there will be plenty of time to see it if the clouds allow. The best time to view, however, will be near moonrise or moonset. This is because the closer the moon is to the horizon, the larger it will appear due to the refraction of the light as it passes through the Earth’s atmosphere. Reds and oranges will also be more prominent at these times as well due to the angle of the light as it passes through the atmosphere.
While the term Supermoon is impressive, it’s important to realize that as the moon rises higher into the sky, it is harder to see the effects of it being closer to the Earth. That’s why it’s better to watch near the moonrise and moonset. At perigee, the full moon can appear up to 30% brighter and up to 14% larger. Oftentimes it is hard to discern that extra 14% from a normal full moon.
If you miss this Supermoon, don’t fret. You’ll have another chances to see it as the next full moon in December will occur at the moon’s perigee. While the December Supermoon won’t be quite as large or as bright as the one this month, you probably won’t notice too much of a difference unless you’re using a telescope or binoculars.