November's Full Moon Isn't A Supermoon, But It Comes Really Close

Last November, the full moon, commonly referred to as the full beaver moon, was a newsworthy spectacle: It was the closest a supermoon had come to earth in 68 years. This year, November's full moon won't appear quite as bright or large, but it's still worth a nighttime viewing.

According to EarthSky, experts are split on whether or not this year's full beaver moon constitutes a supermoon. That's because the definition for the phenomenon is a bit vague: Astrologer Richard Noelle determined a supermoon is "a new or full moon which occurs with the moon at or near its closest approach to Earth in a given orbit." The "at or near" is what tends to give people pause.

Astronomers can agree that this month's moon will not be as close as last November's, nor as close as the December 2017 full moon, which has already earned uncontested supermoon status. Still, if you want to take a look, your best chance to see the moon at peak fullness comes early in the morning of November 4, around 1:23 a.m. You'll also get good views a night earlier, on November 3.

Bundle up before you head outdoors. According to The Old Farmer's Almanac, the full beaver moon gets its name from early colonists and Algonquin tribes who set beaver traps around this time of year. The furs were used for warmth throughout winter. The moon has also been called the full frost moon because of the drop in temperatures in the northern hemisphere.

Unfortunately, we won't get another supermoon like last year's until 2034. However, after watching this month's full beaver moon, you can look forward to December 3, when December's aptly named full cold moon graces the sky. Then, at last, we'll have the largest full moon of 2017. Consider it a holiday present come just a bit early.

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