ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

What is a Supermoon?

Updated on August 11, 2014
Source

What Does Supermoon Mean?

A 'supermoon' is when a full moon coincides with the part of the moon's orbit that's closest to earth. The moon's orbit is oval-shaped, varying by about 31,000 kms as it goes around. When the full moon is close, it appears much larger than normal in the sky, giving rise to the term supermoon, as coined by the astrologer Richard Nolle in 1979.

The astronomical community don't use the term supermoon. The technical term for a supermoon is a syzygy-perigee moon, syzygy being the technical term for a full moon, and perigee being the technical term for the closest point of the moon's orbit.

Supermoons are appear up to 14% larger and 30% brighter from Earth, so you'll definitely know you're looking at one!

Have You Ever Seen a Supermoon?

See results
Author's photo of the 23rd June 2013 supermoon, as seen from Australia at about 9pm
Author's photo of the 23rd June 2013 supermoon, as seen from Australia at about 9pm

How Often do Supermoons Occur?

About one in every 14 full moons also happens to be a supermoon. This usually works out to about one every couple of years (allowing for new moons), so if you missed the latest one, don't worry! There'll be another chance to see one.

The next supermoon, after August 10, 2014, will be September 9th 2014. It's unusually soon, but that just means you won't have to wait too long to see it again!

Supermoon over Munster, Germany, 19 March 2011
Supermoon over Munster, Germany, 19 March 2011 | Source

Tips for Viewing a Supermoon

Part of the beauty of a supermoon is that you don't need any fancy equipment to get the most out of it. Here are some tips for getting the best view:

  • The supermoon looks biggest when it's near the horizon and is easiest to see then. Just after sunset or just before sunrise are the best times to view it to get the full effect.
  • Fancy equipment is unnecessary, but a cheap children's handheld telescope will help you see it closer, and now is a great time to get a really good look at the surface of the moon.
  • If you can, get out of the city or the suburbs and take yourself out to the country to get a better look. The light pollution in the city stops you from seeing the stars around the moon, and it's much more spectacular when they're there as well.
  • The light of a supermoon should be more than enough to see by - and the next one is scheduled for the summer! It'd be a great time to head out for an evening, toast some marshmallows, and enjoy the phenomenon until it reaches its zenith.

Toysmith Pirate Telescope
Toysmith Pirate Telescope

This kid's telescope is perfect for getting a closer view of a supermoon. You won't need any better magnification!

 

Superstitions About Supermoons

In addition to the usual superstitions about full moons, some people believe that supermoons sometimes cause natural disasters, specifically, earthquakes that result in tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions.

This has never been proven, but we do know that supermoons have a measurable effect on the tide, and they have been blamed for the grounding of several ships in the UK because of this. Though it can't be established whether the tidal effect is really the cause - since the difference is only a matter of a few inches - it's definitely an interesting thought!

Supermoon Quiz - Test Your Knowledge

view quiz statistics

© 2013 Cecil Wilde

Are You Going to View The Supermoon?

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      MysticMoonlight 

      5 years ago

      Cool topic! I LOVE the moon and I'm so excited to see another super full moon tonight! Full moons are mesmerizing to me, I sit outside and moon bathe like most people do with the sun! I love the mystery and lore, it always adds to the experience for sure. Thanks for this Hub, voted :)

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)