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Heads Up! Earth’s Moon Comes Closest Since 1948 Monday Night (PHOTOS)

© Sputnik / Vladimir Sergeev / Go to the photo bankA full moon over the Moscow City International Business Center
A full moon over the Moscow City International Business Center - Sputnik International
It’s a wonderful night to gaze at the moon, as the Earth’s only satellite has not been this close to us in 68 years, astronomers say.

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Monday night is a perfect time to grab your telescope, if you have one, or just simply walk out and watch the moon, as the event marks our orbiting neighbor's closest approach to the Earth since 1948, according to astronomers. The last time the moon was both full and this close to Earth was almost seven decades ago, and next time the two events will occur will be 2034.

​Viewers can expect to see a moon that looks 14-percent larger in diameter and about 30 percent brighter than when full and at it furthest point from the Earth. While this is close, it is not the closest since records began to be kept, as on 1912, our satellite was some 100 kilometers closer than it will be tonight, according to astronomers.

"Any time after sunset should be fine [for the moon gazing]," says NASA's Noah Petro, deputy scientist of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter mission.

"Since the moon is full, it'll rise at nearly the same time as sunset, so I'd suggest that you head outside after sunset, or once it's dark and the moon is a bit higher in the sky. You don't have to stay up all night to see it, unless you really want to."

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A supermoon is defined as when a full moon coincides with the satellite's closest approach to Earth during a year. The distance between the moon and the Earth varies constantly, as its orbit is not a perfect circle.

"The main reason why the orbit of the moon is not a perfect circle is that there are a lot of tidal, or gravitational, forces that are pulling on the moon," Petro explains.

"You have all of these different gravitational forces pulling and pushing on the moon, which gives us opportunities to have these close passes."

The supermoon will cause unusually strong high tides across the globe, followed by extremely low water levels. The Earth's crust is also known to respond to the proximity of the moon, causing many to suggest the possibility of earthquakes.

​The supermoon will reach its perigee, or closest point of approach during this cycle, at November 14, 8:52 AM EST (13:52 GMT). When the moon is this close to Earth, distinctive lunar surface features such as impact craters can be seen with the naked eye.

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