Did you catch the full moon this weekend?
If you were lucky enough to see the full moon this weekend, you were in for a treat. It was a “supermoon,” the first of three this year. The next two will follow on November 14th and December 14th. Next month’s full moon will be the closest to Earth of any moon until 2034.
What’s a Supermoon?
“Since the moon’s orbit is elliptical, one side (perigee) is about 30,000 miles closer to Earth than the other (apogee),” NASA says. “The world syzygy, in addition to being useful in word games, is the scientific name for when the Earth, sun and moon line up as the moon orbits Earth. 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 supermoon.”
At its closest point this weekend, the full moon will be 222,365 miles from Earth — on average, it’s 238,855 miles away, according to National Geographic. It will also “appear 16 percent larger than average and nearly 30 percent larger than the year’s smallest full moon.”
The November moon is set to be a real show-stopper: According to NASA, it is “not only the closest full moon of 2016 but also the closest full moon to date in the 21st century.” And it won’t be this close to Earth again until 2034.
The October full moon is also called a hunter’s moon. Do you know why?
Scout Gracie suggested a merit badge, so we’re offering a “Moonie Merit Badge” for doing all of the following:
- Observe one of the full moons in October, November or December. Seeing it on the day before or day after it reaches its peak counts, too.
- Post THREE moon factoids in the comments field below. Anything about the moon is acceptable.
- If you don’t know why, look up why the October moon is called a Hunter’s Moon.
That done, you can claim your Moonie Merit Badge with the redemption code greencheese.
For those of you still working on your Astronomy merit badges, watching one of these full moons will also count as a sighting for your badge.