IS NOVEMBER’S MOON A “SUPERMOON”?
In 2017, the full Moon is fairly close to the Moon’s perigee—which is the Moon’s closest point to Earth in its monthly orbit.
In the media, some folks are calling a Moon that’s close to perigee a “Supermoon.” This is not an astronomical term, but it’s certainly catchy!
In the case of November 2017, the full Moon is within one day and 19 hours of perigee. Is that close enough? Richard Nolle, who defined the “Supermoon” term, said it’s a New or a Full Moon that occurs when the Moon is at or near (within 90% of) its closest approach to Earth in its orbit. It is not clear why he chose 90% but his way of calculating would suggest that the Moon is not within 90% of its closest approach to Earth.
This year, however, the “Supermoon” will fall in December 2017—the largest full Moon of the year!
ORIGIN OF THE NAME
Full moon names often correspond to seasonal markers, so a Harvest Moon occurs at the end of the growing season, in September or October, and the Cold Moon occurs in frosty December. At least, that’s how it works in the Northern Hemisphere.
In the Southern Hemisphere, where the seasons are switched, the Harvest Moon occurs in March and the Cold Moon is in June. According to Earthsky.org, these are common names for full moons south of the equator.
NOVEMBER FULL BEAVER MOON
November’s full Moon was called the Beaver Moon by both the colonists and the Algonquin tribes because this was the time to set beaver traps before the swamps froze, to ensure a supply of warm winter furs.
The November Full Moon is all about water. Early American Colonists and some Indian tribes referred to this as the Beaver Moon for this was the time of the year beavers were very active and traps were set. Many American Indian tribes named this moon for the time the rivers started to freeze and the first snows and frosts came.
The Wishram Indians of the North-West calling this time of the year the “snowy mountains in the morning moon”. This November the exact time of the Full Moon will be just before midnight on Nov 3rd for the West Coast and Mountain timezones and just after midnight for Central and East Coast United States.
The November full Moon was also called the Full Frost Moon by other Native American peoples.
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