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6 Incredible ‘Supermoon’ Facts to Tell Your Students

The biggest and brightest 'Supermoon' in almost 69 years can be seen tonight--certainly a first for both you and your students!

Here are some NASA-inspired facts you can tell your students who are interested in the phenomenon--and who won’t see another like it until 2034.

1. A ‘Supermoon’ Defines a Full Moon at its Nearest Approach to Earth

Known in the scientific community by the less-catchy term perigee-syzygy, supermoons happen all the time; the term simply delineates the coincidence of a full moon also being at the closest to Earth on its elliptical orbit. In fact, there are about 4-6 supermoons every single year!

However, what makes this particular supermoon amazing is that it is the closest full moon since 1948, eclipsing the many less-impressive supermoons in-between (pun intended!)

2. Winter Brings Closer Moons

Because the Earth is closest to the sun during the winter months, the gravitational force pulls the moon closer to Earth. If one of your students enjoys the beauty of this week’s supermoon and wants to keep the star gazing going, let them know that the best star gazing opportunities are right around the corner.

3. Supermoons Will Get Smaller

Though we have the pleasure of enjoying brilliant supermoons, they’re not a guaranteed part of life on Earth.

Because the moon is moving further and further away from Earth every year, supermoons will get smaller and smaller in the distant future, says Space.com.

4. It Brings the Largest Tides of the Year

The supermoon won’t bring natural disasters with it, but it does bring the highest tides of the year. This is just further evidence for curious students about the incredible relationship gravitational pull has on our home.

5. The Moon’s Size Peaks in the Morning

While the super-sized moon can be viewed on both Sunday (Nov. 13) and Monday (Nov. 14) nights, it peaks in size in the morning at 8:52 a.m. EST, contrary to popular belief.

6. You Can Capture the Sight with your Smartphone

It’s unlikely that your students have access to high-powered cameras, but you can still encourage their creative side as they can snap the moon with their smartphones.

Bill Ingalls, a NASA photographer for more than 25 years, shared tips with Space.com for snapping a great shot, making for a great image-swap opportunity on Tuesday.

Nicole Gorman, Senior Education World Contributor

11/14/2016

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