Supermoon of November 13, 2016

November 15, 2016


Photographer: John Gravell
Summary Authors: John Gravell; Jim Foster

The photo above shows this month's supermoon rising over Everett, Massachusetts, looking towards the Revere/Nahant suburbs as viewed from the top of the Whidden Hospital Parking Garage. A pink-tinted sky and fall colors enhance this magical skyscape. This was one of the most spectacular moonrises I've ever seen!

Like the Earth, the Moon has an elliptical orbit. Therefore its distance, and from our perspective, its apparent size and brightness differ, depending upon where it is in its orbit. On November 13/14, 2016, the full Moon was as close to the Earth as it's been since 1948. As a result, it was approximately 14 percent closer and 30 percent brighter than the most distant full Moons observed earlier in the year. For a Moon to be tagged as super, it needs to be in the full phase when it's at or very close to perigee. This typically happens about once every 14 months.

Note that all full Moons look especially big and colorful when positioned close to the horizon. Photo taken in the early evening of November 13, 2016.