Biggest Supermoon to shine tonight, when to watch in India

It will be once in 70 years event when on 14 November 2016, the Moon will come closest to the Earth known as the perigee. Monday evening will be the best opportunity to watch the ‘supermoon.’ The moon will be making its closest approach to Earth since 1948. The only natural satellite of the Earth will be closest at 11:21 GMT.

To an observer on the planet, the moon will look 7% larger and 15% brighter than in normal times. However, the difference will be hardly discernible by the human eyes. Such a coincidence will not happen again until 24 November 2034. This time, the moon is 221,524 miles from our planet, compared with an average distance of 238,900 miles. In 1948 the moon was 30 miles closer, and the next coincidence will happen on November 24, 2034, when the two heavenly bodies will be 40 miles closer.

The Moon transverses around the earth in an elliptical or oval orbit, once every 27 days. An onlooker on Earth sees different parts of the moon which are illuminated by the sun, and when it is fully illuminated, we have a full moon. The distance of the moon from Earth varies and is never constant.

As the only natural satellite moves in its orbit around the Earth, we see different proportions illuminated by the Sun. Once in each orbit, our satellite is entirely illuminated – a full moon. Within the orbit also there are variations which are caused by the Earth’s movement around the sun. In other words, the perigee and the full moon are often not synchronized.

The difference is also very trivial and cannot be judged by the human eye. Since the moon rises so high in the sky in the winter months, the difference can be judged only by comparing photographs. On an average, a supermoon occurs once every 14 months on an average.

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