Ignore The Hype – Please
Here Are The Facts About The November 14, 2016 Supermoon!
“We’re about to see a record-breaking supermoon – the biggest in nearly 70 years.
The closest full moon in the 21st century.” says one site.
Okay. That is a factually correct statement, but it exaggerates the truth to the point where the truth loses its luster. Here are the facts of the situation, plain, simple and unembellished.
- The moon’s orbit around the earth is elliptical. By definition, that means the moon is closer the earth than at other times. It is no big deal. The point of closest approach in the orbit is called the apogee.
- The earth’s orbit varies slightly over time (years) so that the distance of the moon at apogee is not constant.
- Three or four times a year, apogee of the moon occurs very near full moon. When objects are closer to us, appear look larger, so a full moon at apogee looks larger than a full moon at any other point it its orbit around the earth.
Here is a list of the closest full moon apogees for the current decade.
Perigee Moons This Decade
Date Distance from Earth to Moon (km)
2010 Jan 30 356607
2011 Mar 19 356580
2012 May 06 356954
2013 Jun 23 356991
2014 Aug 10 356898
2015 Sep 28 356878
2016 Nov 14 356523
2018 Jan 02 356604
2019 Feb 19 356846
The one receiving all the hype is in bold face, 2016 Nov 14. Look at the distance during that full moon and compare it to 2011 Mar 19. The difference is 57 kilometers (34 miles). So, yes the November 14, 2016 full moon slightly bigger than others, but only slightly. The difference in brightness between all the full moons in the table could not be perceived by the human eye. The exaggeration/hype of the media sets the viewer up for disappointment.
I would say that all full moons are worth looking at. So go out, weather permitting, and enjoy the full moon November 14. I know I will.