Expect a 'Supermoon' this weekend, early next week

Courtesy Crystal Smith

By Charles Roop
November 11, 2016

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Some of you may have heard about the upcoming Supermoon. What makes the moon "super"? Will I be able to see it? Should I prep for the coming apocalypse?

I'll answer that in the next paragraph. Yes, you might. And, no, there should be no reason to go to "prep mode".

The moon doesn't actually orbit the Earth on a perfect circle. It's more of an egg-shaped orbit. The center of the orbit is a moved a bit to where the Earth is not on exact the center of the egg-shaped orbit; therefore, there will be periods where the moon is closer to the Earth at one point and farther away at other times. But the orbit will also adjust overtime - wobble, if you will. When the moon makes its closest pass to Earth, it's called a supermoon.

At its perigree, where the moon is closest to the Earth, the moon can be as much as 14 percent closer than when it's at its farthest point (the apogee), according to NASA.

"The biggest and brightest moon for observers in the United States will be on Monday morning just before dawn," NASA wrote on their website.

The perigree will be Monday at 6:22 am ET, just a couple of hours before the moon is technically a full moon. The moon will already be set for much of the U.S. - including Tallahassee where the moon will set at 6:54 am.

If you can't see it on Monday morning, as the differences in size are expected to be subtle between Sunday and Tuesday, according to NASA.

Will we be able to see it Sunday, Monday, and/or Tuesday? Enter the meteorologist.

A trough is expected to kick in across the southeast Sunday into early next week. The American GFS and the European models are handling moisture advection in the mid to upper levels differently. When you have sufficient moisture aloft, you can have clouds. When you have clouds, you can't see the moon so well.

Sunday: With moonrise at 5:24 pm, cloud cover could be an issue in the evening hours. Visibility odds might not be good.

Monday: The moon is expected to rise at 6:14 pm, but there is still a concern for running into cloud cover.

Tuesday: Lower-level cloud cover could still be an issue as the trough may exit our area and move east. There may be a better shot of some clearer skies, but not 100 percent. It depends on how well it dries out in the lower levels. The moon rise is at 7:08 pm.

Keep checking back over the weekend for revised forecasts. Let's hope for happy viewing!