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November 14, 2016

A rare supermoon lights up the sky tonight.



(Susanne C. Bard)


It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s Super Moon! I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Like Superman, the moon is faster than a speeding bullet – by about 500 mph. And it’s way more powerful than a locomotive. But only on rare occasions, like tonight, does it merit the name “supermoon”. That’s when the moon is at its closest point to earth – or perigee – on the same day as it’s full, and we see the sun’s rays shining directly on its face. It’s 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter than a full moon at apogee, or furthest point. Both last night’s and tonight’s moons are close enough to be considered “super”.  And we’ll get another one on December 14. But there won’t be another one as big as tonight’s until November of 2034. So what better time to turn off the TV, put away the phone, and take a moment to appreciate the beauty of the night sky and our place in the cosmos? I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

Story by Bob Hirshon