The largest supermoon visible since 1948 will grace us with its presence on November 14th, 2016. This amazing moon will be the biggest and brightest in 70 years, making it an event you just don’t want to miss. Supermoons themselves are fairly frequent and there have been plenty of stories about them in the news in 2016. There will be a total of six in 2016, the new moons of March, April and May, and the full moons of October, November and December. The three early ones were new moons, so they weren’t visible by the naked eye. Unlike the rare Black Moon or Blood Moon, this particular one has no prophecy attached to it, but it will be a once-in-a-generation sight.
Many people are uncertain about what makes a moon super or not super. The phenomena occurs when the moon is at its closest orbit to the Earth. Because the moon’s orbit is elliptical, there are times when it is closer to earth than others. When its either full or new and meets this criteria, it’s termed super. These moons, when full of course, can be up to 30 percent brighter and appear 14 percent larger than a regular full moon. At its closest point on Monday, the November supermoon will be approximately 214,486 miles away from Earth, which is pretty close in space measurements. This astronomical event will not come again until November 25, 2034.
The term supermoon does not come from any astronomy textbook. An Astrologer named Richard Noelle is credited with creating the supermoon label back in 1979. HIs criteria was that a new or full moon which occurs with the Moon at, or near (within 90% of) its closest approach to Earth in a given orbit would be “super.” In short, Earth, Moon and Sun are all in a line, with Moon in its nearest approach to Earth. There is no documentation on why Noelle chose 90% as his threshold. Despite the non-scientific approach, the name stuck and grows in use each passing year.
The Supermoon, the Tides, and More
One interesting fact is that the tides will bed stronger during this supermoon. When the moon is closer to earth, the tides will be higher and less consistent. Some of the side-effects that might occur with human beings is insomnia, potential escalated emotional responses, and extreme behaviors. Emergency rooms are often filled to the brim during a full moon with people who act erratically for unexplained reasons. Police departments worldwide report an uptick in crime during a full moon as well.
There are many theories on why this odd set of circumstances occur around a full moon, including the “water” theory; which states that since our bodies are mostly made up of water, the gravitational pull of the full moon does something to tip the balance in the brain and leads to irrational behavior. Other theories have attempted to connect everything from the birth-rate to suicides with the phases of the moon, but there is little corroborating information. The insomnia effect has been researched with some credible results on loss of sleep, but nothing tying that loss to anything else. For an individual already suffering from mental health issues, this effect is likely to be escalated.
The moon can often appear red or orange when it’s lower in the sky because light particles at the red end of the spectrum don’t scatter as easily as light particles at the other end (blue end.) When the moon passes through the thicker part of the atmosphere it appears red, but as it gets higher in the sky, returns to it’s normal coloring.
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