November’s supermoon – the name given to a full moon that occurs when the satellite is at its closest point to Earth during the lunar orbit – will be the biggest supermoon in about 70 years.
Algonquin Native American tribes as well as American colonists called the November full moon the Beaver Moon because “this was the time to set beaver traps before the swamps froze, to ensure a supply of warm winter furs,” according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac.
An alternative name for November’s full moon is the Frost Moon, which was also coined by Native Americans, according to the Almanac. [ Supermoon November 2016: When, Where How to See It]
November’s supermoon will be the largest since 1948, and the full moon will not come this close to Earth again until Nov. 25, 2034, according to NASA. This month is the second in a series of three consecutive supermoons happening late in 2016, with the first taking place in October, and the last in December.
Full moons occur when the moon is on the side of the Earth opposite to the sun, and the three celestial bodies all line up. (Sometimes they perfectly line up, causing a lunar eclipse.) The moon’s orbit around the Earth is not a perfect circle, so during each orbit, the moon reaches a minimum distance from the planet (this point is called perigee) and a maximum distance (apogee). When the moon is full, and is also at perigee, it’s called a supermoon. The supermoon can look 14 percent larger than it does during apogee, and up to 30 percent brighter, NASA officials have said.
The Slooh Community Observatory is hosting a live broadcast of the November supermoon, starting Nov. 13 at 7 p.m. EST (1200 a.m. GMT Nov. 14). You can watch the live stream here on Space.com, courtesy of Slooh.
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