4 Dec 2017

Here comes the Supermoon

2:01 pm on 4 December 2017

The biggest and brightest moon of the year is set to appear tonight.


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Photo: 123rf

In November last year in the wake of the Trump election, the Kaikoura earthquake, and any number of other weird things, we all wondered what had happened to make the world go haywire. Was it divine retribution for our sins? Was it the Mayan apocalypse a few years late? Was it the advent of social media in which we all sold our souls and all identifiable information to tech nerds?

On 14 November 2016, on the eve of the closest and brightest moon since 1948, I got a text from my mum that chilled me to the bone: “I blame it on the giant moon”.


With its fullness coinciding with the time of its closest proximity to earth, tonight’s moon is designated 2017’s first and only “supermoon” and will appear 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter than your usual run-of-the-mill moon.

According to Metservice the moon, which as Stuff helpfully notes will appear “especially plump and vibrant” tonight, will be visible to most New Zealanders due to suspiciously countrywide fine weather.

Now, you may be excited at the prospect of this curvy giant waxing and waning in the night sky this cloudless evening. You may be thinking the moon is round and nice and good and surely will not crash into our strange, dying planet a la Melancholia!

Now, whether you agree with me and my apparently pagan mother that the moon - the astronomical body that orbits planet Earth controlling the tides with its massive gravitational pull - can affect us humans, you can be sure people get pretty bloody ...excited... about large moons.

If this all sounds like too much fun to only have once then fear not: with two supermoons scheduled to appear in January on the 2nd and the 31st, we have a veritable moon bonanza (or, as Nasa are calling it, a “moon trilogy”) to look forward to.

Happy Supermooning!