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Biggest & brightest Supermoon of 2020 on Tuesday

The moon will be the closest to us it will be all year long

1/29/2010 shot from my back yard.
1/29/2010 shot from my back yard.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Tuesday’s full moon will be the biggest and the brightest we will see this entire year. The orbit of the moon around the Earth is not a perfect circle, it’s an elliptical orbit with wobbles and inconsistencies, meaning sometime the moon is closer to Earth than others.

Here are some fast and fun facts from NASA about Supermoons:

A supermoon occurs when the moon’s orbit is closest (perigee) to Earth at the same time it is full. So what's so special about a supermoon? Turns out, it's a bit more subtle than it sounds—but for the interested observer, there's plenty to see and learn.

  • The Moon orbits Earth in an ellipse, an oval that brings it closer to and farther from Earth as it goes around.
  • The farthest point in this ellipse is called the apogee and is about 253,000 miles (405,500 kilometers) from Earth on average.
  • Its closest point is the perigee, which is an average distance of about 226,000 miles (363,300 kilometers) from Earth.
  • When a full moon appears at perigee it is slightly brighter and larger than a regular full moon—and that’s where we get a “supermoon.”

Moonrise on Tuesday night is at 7:35p.m. It will look beautiful rising over the ocean, it’s too bad the beaches are currently closed, it would be a beautiful night to enjoy watching it. For the best view of the moonrise, get as high up as you can with the least landscape and objects between you and the east.

The moon becomes officially full at 10:35p.m. The sky locally is forecasted to have 53% cloud cover between 7-11p.m, meaning you may have to dodge a few clouds to enjoy the beautiful moon, but it should be otherwise lovely for viewing.

Humans have been staring at the moon since the dawn of time. But even now we’re still learning new things about our closest neighbor. NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) has been giving us an unprecedented close-up view of our Moon for over a decade. It’s showing us where meteorites are hitting the surface and changing the landscape even now, and where there are minerals in the lunar soil that could be resources for future explorers. The spacecraft is showing us every day that our Moon is dynamic and a fascinating place to explore.

Flooding Possible

If you live in an area that typically floods due to extremely high tides- you’ll probably see some flooding during high tide over the next few days. Here’s why high tides and low tides will be more extreme with a full moon and even more so for an “Supermoon” full moon. The extremes are greater due to the difference in the gravitational pull of the Moon across Earth’s diameter. When the Moon is close, Earth’s diameter is a slightly larger fraction of the Earth-Moon separation. This means that the Moon’s gravitational pull on the oceans (and Earth’s crust) has a greater difference between the point on Earth closest to the Moon’s center and the point on Earth diametrically opposite it (the antipode, an-tih-pode). This increases the effects of tides. If the extreme perigean full moon in November, 2016 caused tides with a force value of 1.000000, the tidal force value by caused by…

  • The average perigean full moon is 0.946493.
  • The average distance full moon is 0.797740.
  • The average apogean full moon is 0.678594.

Perigean high tides during full moon and new moon can cause major problems on some coasts, especially if weather adds high waves or a storm surge (due to low atmospheric pressure over the involved area).


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