Look up! The Geminid meteor shower peaks at the same time as the supermoon tonight!

November saw a staggering supermoon that was the closest it will be to Earth until 2034, but it wasn’t the final supermoon of 2016. On December 14, there will be another.

The moon will appear bigger in the sky when it becomes full on the same day as the perigee – when the orbit of the moon is closest to Earth. The moon appears to change size due to its orbit being elliptical rather than circular.

According to Space.com, the moon will visibly be at its largest on December 14 at 00:05 GMT (19:05 EST) but will also appear to be larger the day before and after its peak.

December’s supermoon will be the third of 2016, following the giant views in November and an earlier occurrence in October. “A supermoon, or perigee full moon can be as much as 14 per cent bigger and 30 per cent brighter than an apogee full moon,” Nasa says.

The Geminid meteor shower

There’s an additional treat for space-gazing fans this week: the Geminid meteor shower is also due to take place at the same time as the larger-than-normal Moon.

The meteor shower originates from the 3200 Phaethon comet. Its peak activity will be 120 meteors per hour, with each of the comets travelling at 22 miles per second.

Nasa says the shower will be active from December 4 to December 16 with its peak activity happening over December 13 and 14. “The Geminids are typically one of the best and most reliable of the annual meteor showers,” the space agency says.

However, the supermoon is likely to make it harder (if not impossible) to see the meteor shower. “Bright moonlight will reduce the visibility of faint meteors five to ten fold, transforming the usually fantastic Geminids into an astronomical footnote,” Nasa says.

“Sky watchers will be lucky to see a dozen Geminids per hour when the shower peaks. Oh well, at least the moon will be remarkable.”

We’re about to see a Record breaking supermoon – the biggest in nearly 70 years

If you only see one astronomical event this year, make it the November supermoon, when the Moon will be the closest to Earth it’s been since January 1948.

During the event, which will happen on the eve of November 14, the Moon will appear up to 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter than an average full moon. This is the closest the Moon will get to Earth until 25 November 2034, so you really don’t want to miss this one.

So how do you get a supermoon? 

As NASA explains, because the Moon has an elliptical orbit, one side – called the perigee – is about 48,280 km (30,000 miles) closer to Earth than the other side (the apogee).

When the Sun, the Moon, and Earth line up as the Moon orbits Earth, that’s known as syzygy (definitely something you want to keep in your back pocket for your next Scrabble match).

When this Earth-Moon-Sun system occurs with the perigee side of the Moon facing us, and the Moon happens to be on the opposite side of Earth from the Sun, we get what’s called a perigee-syzygy.

That causes the Moon to appear much bigger and brighter in our sky than usual, and it’s referred to as a supermoon – or more technically, a perigee moon.

Supermoons aren’t all that uncommon – we just had one on October 16, and after the November 14 super-supermoon, we’ll have another one on December 14.

But because the November 14 Moon becomes full within about 2 hours of perigee, it’s going to look the biggest it has in nearly seven decades.

“The full moon of November 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 25 November 2034.”

 

This one, shot in 2014 over Manhattan, is particularly cool:

If you’re planning on viewing the November 14 supermoon, be sure to get somewhere nice and dark, away from the lights of the city, if you can.

You’ll have some awesome opportunities to take pictures with your phone overnight, but if you want to see it at its absolute biggest, it’s expected to reach the peak of its full phase on the morning of November 14 at 8:52am EST (1352 GMT).

For those of youhttp://www.sciencealert.com/we-re-about-to-see-a-record-breaking-supermoon-the-biggest-and-brightest-in-nearly-70-years in Australia, you’ll need to wait until November 15 to see it, and the Moon will hit its full phase at 12:52am AEST.

Full Story: Biggest Supermoon for nearly 70 Years!