A supermoon is a full moon or a new moon that nearly coincides with perigee—the closest that the Moon comes to the Earth in its elliptic orbit—resulting in a slightly larger-than-usual apparent size of the lunar disk as viewed from Earth.

The term supermoon is astrological in origin and has no precise astronomical definition.

Apogee, Perigee and Syzygy

Apogee and perigee refer to the apsis pertaining distance from the Earth to the moon.

  • Apogee is when the moon is at the farthest point from the earth.
  • Perigee is the point at which the Moon is closest in its orbit to the Earth,
  • Syzygy is when the Earth, the Moon and the Sun are aligned, which happens at every full or new moon.
Apsis denotes either of the two extreme points (i.e., the farthest or nearest point) in the orbit of a planetary body about its primary body

Effects on Earth

  1. The apogee and perigee of the moon have an effect on the tides here on Earth.
  2. When the moon is at apogee, the furthest distance from the Earth, it has less gravitational pull which, along with other factors that influence the tides, can contribute to lower tides or lower variation in the high/low tide level.
  3. When the moon is at perigee, closer to the Earth, the combined effect of the Sun and Moon on the Earth’s oceans, the tide is greatest
  4. During Supermoon, the tidal force is somewhat stronger, resulting in perigean spring tides
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