According to NASA, 2016 is closing out the year with a series of supermoons. The last of which can be seen in the night sky between Dec. 13, 2016, and Dec. 14, 2016. During a supermoon, the full moon is in close proximity to earth, making it appear larger, brighter, and more voluminous. The three supermoons that will close out 2016 occurred or are occurring on Oct. 16, 2016, Nov. 14, 2016, and on Dec. 14. Some people might see the moon at its brightest on Dec. 13, 2016. Science at NASA released a video discussing the three supermoons. You may see that video below. Check the video above for footage from Virtual Telescope’s live streaming coverage of the Nov. 14, 2016, supermoon. Virtual Telescope will live stream the Dec. 14, 2016, supermoon that coincides with the Geminid meteor shower.
Skywatchers will find that Dec. 13, is a great time to break out the telescope and do a bit of gazing. However; if you wanted to view the Geminid meteor shower, you’re likely to be disappointed. The December supermoon will be approximately 30 percent brighter than a typical moon, and the meteor shower will most likely be obscured by moonlight. You might see a falling star or two to make a wish upon, but the main attraction in the night sky will undoubtedly be the December supermoon. Check the video below for footage from Virtual Telescope’s Nov. 14, supermoon filmed over St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
Those who want to watch the December supermoon can tune into Virtual Telescope’s special live broadcast that will stream online on Dec. 13, 2016, beginning at 16 UT. You can tune into the live stream and watch the supermoon, regardless of your location, visibility or area. This is a great way for those who wouldn’t have a clear view of the supermoon to witness this amazing astronomical event. As the December supermoon coincides with the Geminid meteor shower, some people will choose to watch the meteor shower live streaming instead of the supermoon. As it will be virtually impossible to see both with the naked, visible eye, telescopes make it possible to watch one or the other online. While the Virtual Telescope will be streaming the supermoon, Slooh observatory will be live streaming the Geminid meteor shower. Those who want to watch the meteor shower can do so at the official website.
There are several meteor showers that get a lot of attention throughout the year. These include the Perseids, the Leonids, and the Geminids. The Geminids produce numerous falling stars (meteors) that can be seen with the visible eye. Sometimes viewers can see falling stars every minute or two as they streak across the night sky. The Geminids are one of the most popular meteor showers viewed each year and there’s no doubt that some will feel torn between viewing the December supermoon and the Geminids.
Mark your calendar for one of the best meteor showers of the year!— Slooh (@Slooh) December 9, 2016
Explore the Geminid Meteor Shower during our livestream, Dec 13th 8PM EST pic.twitter.com/pbb5g7p921
A full moon occurs approximately every 29 and a half days. Having three back-to-back supermoons have caused some to look to the sky for prophetic meaning. Some have even thought the Nov. 14, 2016, supermoon would herald the second coming of Jesus Christ. There is no denying there are many special factors pertaining to the December supermoon. These together have made the event a fitting end to the year. Check out these educational space videos from NASA focusing on the moon.
According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, the Native Americans had several names for the December full moon including the Long Nights Moon and the Full Cold Moon. The December supermoon occurs one week before the winter solstice which is the longest day of the year. The winter solstice means that the sun is at the furthest southern point away from the northern hemisphere. The sun will travel the shortest distance during the sky giving the shortest hours of daylight during the year. The December supermoon will usher in the winter solstice marking the passing of autumn into winter until spring begins on March 20, 2017. You may see a video below from the Almanac discussing the Native American names for the December full moon.
Which do you plan to watch? Will you watch the December supermoon live streaming online or are you going to watch the Geminids meteor shower?
[Featured Image by Kriengsuk Prasroetsung/Shutterstock]