The Supermoon

In case you missed it (and it was hard to miss), last Sunday (Nov. 13) our clear skies in Rappahannock County gave us a great view of what is often called a “supermoon.” According to NPR , its official name is perigee-syzygy, meaning “the moon is both full and closest to Earth.” This was the nearest supermoon in almost 70 years, and unlikely to be seen again until 2034. A full moon making this closest pass to Earth appears up to 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter, thus the term “supermoon.”

The "Supermoon" on Sunday over Rappahannock, as seen through the lenses of Ruthie Windsor Mann (above) and Vi Vierling (below).
The “Supermoon” on Sunday over Rappahannock, as seen through the lenses of Ruthie Windsor Mann (above) and Vi Vierling (below). Ruthie Windsor Mann
Vi Vierling

The moon was expected to be “its brightest and biggest” from around sunset Sunday to Monday’s predawn and sunset, says NPR and, quoting NASA, it adds that Monday’s version was expected to be a “showstopper.” Our own local retired meteorologist, Bob Ryan, begged to differ, according to his post to Rappahannock County’s community listserv, Rappnet, on Sunday:

“Don’t fall for this Super Moon being Monday. Sunday — tonight at 11:36 PM it will be 63° high & 221,575 miles above Old Rag and Rappahannock. Enjoy.”

Bob’s reference to Old Rag was related to his also noting that local conservationist and inveterate hiker Hunt Harris led a hike up Old Rag Mountain Sunday night, as he often does during full moons. As I’m writing this on Monday morning, the clouds are rolling in, so I was glad to take some time to observe it on Sunday.

Pam Owen’s latest complete Wild Ideas column will be in next week’s Rappahannock News.

Pam Owen
About Pam Owen 340 Articles
Writer, editor, photographer, and passionate nature conservationist living in Rappahannock County, in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Two favorite quotes: By E.O. Wilson, who coined the term "biodiversity," "Nature holds the key to our aesthetic, intellectual, cognitive and even spiritual satisfaction”; by Douglas Adams, “I love deadlines. I love the whooshing sound they make as they pass by.”