Everything you need to know about this weekend’s Beaver Moon

The moon will appear brighter and larger than usual this weekend. Here’s why you’ll be doing a double-take when you glance skywards.

What makes it a supermoon?

A woman takes a photograph of a supermoon on her smartphone in 2014 (Yui Mok/PA)

The full moon will appear 14% larger in diameter and 30% brighter than usual hence the name supermoon.

That’s because the moon will be closer to the Earth than usual.

It will be 226,182 miles from Earth, closer than its average 238,900 miles.

Why is it called the Beaver Moon?

November’s full moon, in the Northern Hemisphere, occurs at the time of year when historically hunters used to set traps before waters froze over to ensure a supply of warm furs for winter – hence the name Beaver Moon.

Some people call it the Hunter’s Moon. Even if wasn’t a supermoon, it would still be a Beaver Moon.

When will it be visible?

A bird flies in front of a supermoon seen in Scotland in May 2012 (Danny Lawson/PA)

The second supermoon of the year will be visible on Friday and Saturday night.

It will reach the peak of its full phase at 5.23am on Saturday and the forecast looks promising.

Met Office forecaster Emma Sharples said: “There is a good chance of catching a glimpse of it.”

Tom Kerss, astronomer at Royal Observatory Greenwich, said: “It should be a really beautiful sight. It’s worth noting that the best time to see any object in the sky is when it’s as high as it can be, so really around midnight.”

After this weekend, the next supermoon is on December 3, the third of 2017. The first was on January 12.

Why does the distance between the moon and the Earth vary?

(PA)

The moon has a slightly elliptical orbit – it does not move around the Earth in a perfect circle.

At some points the moon is about 5% closer to Earth than average, known as perigee, and at others 5% further away, known as apogee.


 

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