Tonight’s moon will be the biggest and brightest in living memory – and people around the world will be watching just after the sun sets.
The rare “supermoon” will make the full lunar disc appear 14% bigger and up to 30% brighter than usual as it rises above the rooftops on Monday night – and should offer stunning views if the cloud expected over the region on Monday evening doesn’t cover the view.
The event, described as “undeniably beautiful” by American space agency Nasa, is the result of the moon coming closer to Earth than it has done for 69 years.
If the moon lines up with the Earth and sun that is called syzygy – if it does it when it is closest to us that is known as perigee-syzygy – but you can just call it a supermoon.
“The full moon of November 14 is not only the closest full moon of 2016 but also the closest full moon to date in the 21st century. The full moon won’t come this close to Earth again until November 25, 2034.”
While the moon would look spectacular on the night, Perry Vlahos, the vice-president of the Astronomical Society of Victoria, said stargazers would probably not notice any difference between the three supermoons this year.
“The difference between other close moons would only be, in some instances, 100, 200 or 300 kilometres. To the human eye, that is almost imperceptible from a distance as great as that,” he said.
But he said that many people never watched the moon rise. Low-hanging moons could create what was known as a moon illusion: when the moon appears unusually large while coming over the horizon.
He advised those wanting to watch the supermoon rise on November 14 to head at dusk to an east-facing beach, or to the top of a hill or mountain with uninterrupted views to the east.