Sky gazers are about to be treated to a celestial event that hasn’t been observed in almost 70 years and won’t come again for many years to come.
The “record-breaking” supermoon slated for Nov. 14, known as the Beaver Moon or Frost Moon, will be exceptionally large and bring with it higher than normal tides.
Appearing up to 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter than an average full moon, as noted by sciencealert.com, November’s supermoon could very well be a once-in-a-lifetime event for many.
“The full moon of Nov. 14 is not only the closest full moon of 2016 but also the closest full moon to date in the 21st century,” says NASA. The full moon won’t come this close to Earth again until Nov. 25, 2034.”
According to the Farmer’s Almanac, the Beaver Moon gets its name because it came at the time of year when the early colonists and the Algonquin tribes set their beaver traps before the swamps froze. This would ensure they had a good supply of warm winter furs.
November Meteor Showers
On Nov. 12, the annual Taurids Meteor Shower will light up the night sky with meteors that are remnants left behind by the passage of the Comet known as 2P/Encke. With larger than normal “grains,” the Taurids often offer fireballs, as well as about 10-15 meteors per hour. Unfortunately, the nearly full moon will “wash out the peak nights,” Vaughn notes.
— Barbara Weibel (@holeinthedonut) December 7, 2015
Another meteor shower will bring more “falling stars” between Nov. 5 and Dec. 3. The Leonid Meteor Shower, which will peak in the pre-dawn hours on Nov. 17, comes from material left behind from repeated passages of Comet 55P/Tempel-Tuttle. Again, the waxing moon soon after the full moon will prevent the best possible view of the shower.
Planets and Meteor Showers
Because Venus sets more than two hours after the sun during the month of November, it can be readily seen as a very bright white object in the western early evening sky. It will continue to be seen in the western sky until spring.
Jupiter can be observed during the pre-dawn hours in November. It rises at 5:30 a.m. early in November and by 3 a.m. later in the month. It is best seen as the sky brightens before sunrise.
Vaughn notes that the November night sky and its celestial offerings are best viewed away from light pollution found near populated areas. He also suggests sky gazers take enough time to allow their eyes to adjust, which could take up to 15 minutes.