What is a Supermoon?

Moon above U.S. Capitol.

The moon is seen as it rises over the Capitol, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016 in Washington, D.C. More ›

What's so special about a supermoon? Turns out, it's a bit more subtle than it sounds—but for the interested observer, there's plenty to see.

The name “supermoon” was coined by an astrologer in 1979 and is often used by the media today to describe what astronomers would call a perigean (pear-ih-jee-un) full moon: a full moon occurring near or at the time when the Moon is at its closest point in its orbit around Earth.

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