What's so super about the moon?
November 9, 2016 —
It is not often, and some would say rare, that we see an unusual astronomical event in Rochester. Whether it’s a comet trail or a celestial eclipse, the event seems to capture the interest of the American public.
On November 14, we will see a record-breaking Supermoon. It’s expected to be the biggest in nearly 70 years!
During this event, the moon near the horizon will appear up to 14 percent larger and 30 percent brighter than the average full moon. But why does this full moon appear bigger than other full moons? A simple explanation is the full moon is closer to the earth on average.
According to NASA, the moon has an elliptical orbit. One of the sides, called the perigee, is 30,000 miles closer to the Earth than the other side, called the apogee. However, there is an added effect called "syzygy." This occurs when the earth, moon and sun line up as the moon orbits the earth.
This added enhancement is what makes the Supermoon, and it's what makes this Supermoon so special.
This will be the closest full moon to date this century. In fact, the full moon will not come this close to earth again until the year 2034.
However, viewing any astronomical event in Rochester often a challenge. During this time of the year, cloud cover has a significant impact. By some estimates, the percentage of time that skies are clear in Western New York drops by an average of at least 45 percent from summer to the fall season.
So remember, astronomical events in Rochester are only as good as meteorological events allow. Check back on 13wham.com to get the latest weather forecast.