The super moon of the century is set to shine around the world tonight, lighting up skies and thrilling stargazers.
The last super moon of this magnitude was back in 1948 – meaning that for much of the world, this will be the largest moon they’ve ever seen.
In fact, it will be some time until a moon like this can be seen again, as the next time the moon’s orbit will bring it so close to the earth will be on 25 November, 2034.
The moon has an elliptical orbit, and one point in the orbit – the perigee – brings the moon 50,000 kilometres closer to the Earth that the apogee, when it is further away. The super moon, also known as a perigee full moon, appears significantly bigger and brighter than usual.
The effect is heightened by syzygy, which is the term for when the Earth, sun, and moon line up as the moon orbits Earth.
According to Nasa: “when perigee-syzygy of the Earth-moon-sun system occurs and the moon is on the opposite side of the Earth from the sun, we get a perigee moon or more commonly, a super moon”.
And while tonight’s super moon is set to be the best of this century, there is another opportunity to catch an incredible super moon on 14 December.
— NASA Marshall News (@NASA_Marshall) November 12, 2016