Why Is The November 2016 Supermoon Special? It Will Be The Biggest One Since 1948

A swollen 'supermoon' is seen during the stages of a total eclipse in Caracas on September 27, 2015. For the first time in decades, the double spectacle of a swollen 'supermoon' bathed in the blood-red light of a total eclipse can be seen. The celestial show, visible from the Americas, Europe, Africa, west Asia and the east Pacific, will be the result of the Sun, Earth and a larger-than-life, extra-bright Moon lining up for just over an hour. AFP PHOTO/JUAN BARRETO (Photo credit should read JUAN BARRETO/AFP/Getty Images)
Source: JUAN BARRETO/AFP/Getty Images

There have been a lot of celestial happenings this year. A new (but debated) zodiac sign, Ophiuchus, was introduced. We had two penumbral lunar eclipses, one in March and the other in September. And on November 14, 2016 there's another big lunar event: a supermoon. Say what you want about 2016, but it's been quite the year for astronomy and astrology buffs. What is a supermoon, though? If you've never heard the term before, you're not alone. You can kind of infer from the name, but a supermoon happens when a full moon is at the closest point to Earth during its orbit — so it appears especially big and bright. One might say, super big. Although this may sound like a once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon, supermoons in general are actually not all that rare — we had one in October and we'll have another one in December. Still, the November supermoon is different. So why is the November supermoon special? There are a couple of reasons not to miss this month's celestial event.

Even though we had a supermoon last month and are expecting one next month, November's supermoon is going to be big — literally. According to Chronicle Liveon November 14, 2016 the moon will be 221,524 miles from Earth — the closest it's been to us so far this century. That's a pretty big deal. The moon will be closer to us than it's been in almost 70 years, meaning it's been that long since we've seen a supermoon this big. So yeah, this is a pretty big deal.

What's more, we won't see another supermoon like this for a while — almost 20 years, in fact. Scientists predict the moon won't be this close to Earth again until November 25, 2034, so don't sleep on this supermoon. Not that it would be easy to miss, because you don't need any sort of telescope to see the supermoon — just look outside with your special eyes.

And while you're at it, mark your calendars for December 6, 2052, when the closest supermoon of the 21st century is expected to occur. Just kidding, I know they don't make calendars that far out in advance, but it's still worth noting.

Images: Getty Images; Giphy (2)

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