Get Ready for the ‘Supermoon’

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The closest full moon in the 21st century.

Entire lifetimes have come and gone without the moon looking quite as large as it will this month. On November 14th, skygazers will witness the closest full moon, or “supermoon,” of 2016. But more excitingly, it’ll be the closest full moon since 1948—and we won’t get another one like it until 2034.

The reason the moon appears to shrink and grow in the sky is that its orbit is not a perfect circle, but rather, a modest ellipse. As the moon swings between its closest point (perigee) and its furthest point (apogee), its distance to Earth varies by approximately 30,000 miles. This translates to a size variation comparable to the difference between a nickel and a quarter.

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