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Supermoon On November 14 To Be Closest To Earth Since 1948

BOSTON (CBS) - Ready for an astronomical event the likes of which we haven't seen since 1948?

It's coming soon - the supermoon to end all supermoons!

Perhaps the term "supermoon" has been tossed around too much in recent years? It's become a buzz word much like El Nino back in the 90s.

Have you become immune to meteorologists and astronomers bashing you over the head with yet another supermoon? Well, let me assure you that this time, it will not disappoint.

First, back to basics.  A supermoon itself is not all that uncommon.

To fully explain, you need to know a few geeky terms.

  • Perigee: The point in the moon's elliptical orbit when the moon is closest to earth.
  • Syzygy: When the sun, moon and earth line up.
  • Perigee-syzygy: Essentially a combination of the two.  The moon is at perigee to earth (closest in its orbit) and the sun, moon and earth lineup with the moon on the opposite side as the sun.

This is exactly what is about to happen.  However that alone isn't all that newsworthy.  In fact it just happened a few weeks ago and it will happen again in December.

BUT, and this is a big BUT, this time the full moon will be closer to Earth than it has been all year, all decade and all century!

In fact, the last time a full moon was this close to Earth was 1948! And, it won't be this close again until the year 2034 - now that's what I call a supermoon!

So, mark your calendars, on November 14th, the "Beaver Moon" will become full within two hours of being at perigee. With the right sky conditions, a supermoon can appear as much as 14-percent bigger and 30-percent brighter than some other full moons.

(WBZ-TV graphic)

One downside to this year's Super Beaver Moon - it will create some very high astronomical tides, otherwise known as King Tides (tides that are among the highest of the year).

You may recall just a few weeks ago during the October full moon, we had king tides that caused some minor coastal flooding and that was done without the aid of any weather or wind.

The Boston Harbor tides reached a height of 12.3 feet back on October 18th.  The king tides in November will be even higher at 12.5 feet. Vulnerable shore roads will certainly flood again, and if we have any adverse weather (most notably with an onshore wind component), look out, the shoreline is certainly at a high risk.

So grab your cameras, hope for calm and clear weather and enjoy the show!

The full Super Beaver Moon will be rising at 4:58 p.m. on November 14th.

Follow Terry on Twitter @TerryWBZ

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