Stargazers all over the world were treated to a special celestial event last night, Nov. 14, when the moon appeared to larger than usual in the evening sky.
The phenomenon is called as a "supermoon", and it is known to coincide when the moon reaches within 90 percent of its closest point (about 30,000 miles) to the Earth during its monthly orbit.
This event is also referred to as perigee-syzygy, which pertains to when the Earth, moon and the sun position themselves in a straight line of each other. Its opposite is the apogee-syzygy, also known as micromoon.
Monday's supermoon is considered to be the largest and brightest it has ever been in close to 69 years. It's going to take another 18 years before the moon becomes that massive again.
Impact Of A Supermoon On The Earth
While the appearance of the supermoon has been a regular occurrence in the Earth's skies, it was American astrologer Richard Nolle who is credited with coining the term in 1979.
However, supermoon is rarely used within the scientific community as many researchers prefer to use perigee full moon or perigee new moon.
Aside from making the moon look larger and brighter than usual, a supermoon event can also cause "geophysical stress" on the Earth. The relatively closer distance between the two celestial bodies can increase the typical effects of the moon on the planet.
Scientists anticipated that the gravitational forces that would be pushing and pulling the moon during the Nov. 14 supermoon event would cause slightly higher tides to be formed in oceans.
"One of the interesting things about the moon is that it's not only pulling on the Earth's oceans, it's actually pulling on the Earth's crust," NASA's Noah Petro told Space.com. "The Earth's crust — the land beneath our feet — actually deforms and responds to the moon."
Other Remarkable Supermoons In History
Monday's supermoon isn't the only perigee to occur this year. The moon also appeared larger than usual on Oct. 16, though the Nov. 14 one was still relatively fuller. Another supermoon is set to appear on Dec. 14.
If you weren't able to catch the extra-large perigee on Monday, you can still see again on Nov. 25, 2034.
The closest distance the moon has ever come to the Earth happened January 1912. It came just under 100 kilometers (about 62 miles) closer than during the Nov. 14 perigee. Petro said the November 2034 supermoon will be even closer to our planet.