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It's been 70 years since 'supermoon;' watch Monday night

MINOT-- Get ready for an event not seen for nearly 70 years. That was when the region last saw the appearance of a "supermoon." Oddly, the term supermoon wasn't used until 1979 when astrologer Richard Nolle described a full moon as being a supermoon.

The supermoon rises over the United States Capitol dome in Washington, on Sunday night. Photo by REUTERS/Gary Cameron
The supermoon rises over the United States Capitol dome in Washington, on Sunday night. Photo by REUTERS/Gary Cameron

MINOT-- Get ready for an event not seen for nearly 70 years.

That was when the region last saw the appearance of a "supermoon." Oddly, the term supermoon wasn't used until 1979 when astrologer Richard Nolle described a full moon as being a supermoon.

You won't find supermoon among any official astrological definitions, but you will find it ascending in the eastern sky starting at 5:50 p.m. Monday. Weather conditions permitting, it should be quite a sight for gawkers and photographers alike.

If skies are clear, the upcoming full moon will appear up to 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter than usual, making it what is called a supermoon, according to NASA.

While Earth orbits around the sun, the moon orbits around Earth. Supermoon is used to describe a full moon that occurs during the moon's closest point of orbit near Earth. The last time it happened was in 1948 and it is not expected to happen again until 2034, making a supermoon an astrological rarity.

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The term supermoon is used because the moon will be approximately 25,000 miles nearer Earth than usual. That point of orbit is called the perigee, closest to Earth. Additionally, supermoons in the Northern Hemisphere that occur during the winter are particularly impressive.

The best viewing of a supermoon is at moonrise when the moon begins to sneak above the horizon in the eastern sky. It is then that the supermoon will make its most impressive appearance. Those wishing to capture the arrival of the supermoon on camera should take the time to scout out a particular vantage point, generally one that takes advantage of landscape or structures in conjunction with the brilliant and large moon.

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