The ultimate supermoon is just around the corner - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

The ultimate supermoon is just around the corner

Remember this famous line? “To the moon, Alice”. It’s the classic line from The Honeymooners. Ralph (Jackie Gleason) used to say it to Alice when he was mad at her. Well, on November 14, he wouldn’t have far to throw her! That’s when the moon will be closest to Earth since 1948. That makes it the supermoon of all supermoons!

The Moon will appear up to 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter than an average full moon. This is the closest the Moon will get to Earth until November 25 2034, so you don’t want to miss this one.

How does this occur? The Moon has an elliptical orbit. One side, called the perigee, is about 30,000 miles closer to Earth than the other side (the apogee). 

When the Sun, the Moon, and Earth line up as the Moon orbits Earth, that’s known as syzygy (don’t ask me how to pronounce it). When this Earth-Moon-Sun system occurs with the perigee side of the Moon facing us, and the Moon happens to be on the opposite side of Earth from the Sun, we get what’s called a perigee-syzygy. That causes the Moon to appear much bigger and brighter in our sky than usual, and it’s referred to as a supermoon - or more technically, a perigee moon.

Supermoons aren’t uncommon. We just had one on October 16, and after the November 14 supermoon, we’ll have another one on December 14. If you're viewing from a spot where the Moon is sitting closer to the horizon, it can create what's known as "moon illusion".

"When the moon is near the horizon, it can look unnaturally large when viewed through trees, buildings, or other foreground objects," according to NASA. "The effect is an optical illusion, but that fact doesn’t take away from the experience."

The big question will be cloud cover. It's still several days out but we will have updates on the forecast for viewing as it approaches.

Spencer Denton
WMC Action News 5 Morning Meteorologist
First Alert Storm Tracking Team
Facebook: 
Meteorologist Spencer Denton
Twitter: @sdentonwx

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