Wave of astronomical events hits East Coast during November and December

Matt Di Michele, Staff Writer

After a summer in which astronomers all over the U.S. had a ton of interesting events to view and learn about, the sights beyond Earth’s borders are once again unleashing unprecedented surprises and anomalies over the course of the next month or so.

The series of events that will excite even the most casual of skyline-viewers kicked off with the celestial body that is closest to our Earth. Over the course of the week of November 14, our planet’s moon became what astronomers everywhere have dubbed a “super moon”.

While the United States gets to witness a variation of the super moon about every thirteen months, according to NASA this November’s super moon will be one of the brightest ever recorded. The American government agency has stated that the moon will appear to be bigger than it ever has over the course of the past 68 years.

It has also been hypothesized that the super moon, which is caused by the fact that the moon is much closer to the Earth than it usually is in its rotation, will be the last of its kind until at least 2034.

Often called “Beaver Moons” in the U.S. according to CNN, super moons tend to grace the North American skyline in autumn, right when hunting of the small mammal begins in many areas of the nation. This month’s edition of the already special astrological event is even being dubbed as “extra” super moon by NASA due to the fact that its previously referenced elliptical rotation coincidentally makes the moon even brighter and visually bigger than even the most memorable of super moons.

But November’s super moon will not be the last one of 2016; while the next time mankind will see a moon as big as this one will be in approximately 18 years, December of 2016 will feature a subjectively less potent super moon. This subsequent anomaly will make be noteworthy for a different reason than its predecessor, however. The December super moon is set to hinder astronomer’s vision of a meteor shower that is expected to occur simultaneously with the super moon.

The Geminid meteor shower, while still expected to be extraordinary from a planet-neutral perspective, will not be as easily perceptible for anyone who would like to witness it in all of its glory. The brightness of the December super moon will illuminate the night sky with a sort of natural “light pollution”, rivaling man made exertions of the same atmospheric dilemma.

The combination of astronomical highs and lows that is set to come to fruition during these next few months is certainly enough to keep any stargazer with their eyes firmly set on the sky.