Illinois Astronomer Explains 'Super Moon' Letdown

Dec 4, 2017
Originally published on December 4, 2017 8:56 am

If you were hoping for a bigger "super moon" last night, an Illinois astronomer explains why you were disappointed. David Leake directs the Staerkel Planetarium at Parkland College in Champaign. He said a “super moon” happens when the moon’s orbit takes it closest to the earth.

"The moon’s orbit is not a perfect circle," Leake said. "So there are times when it can be a little closer and other times when it’s a little farther away from our earth, and they call the time near full moon when we’re at that close point as a super moon.”

Leake says while a super moon is interesting, it isn’t very spectacular. The moon will appear only slightly bigger, but it is not something people can immediately discern when they look up. Approximately every 14th full moon is a super moon.

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