What is a Super Moon?
So, the term “super moon” is actually a layman’s term for what astrologers call a perigee-syzygy of the Earth–Moon–Sun system. Perigee is the point at which the Moon is closest to Earth in its orbit. Syzygy is when the Earth, Moon and Sun are all aligned, which of course happens whenever there is a full moon. Therefore perigee-syzygy is a coincidental combination of those conditions. In other words, when the moon is full and at the point of its orbit that is closest to earth you get to see a super moon!
Tracking the Moon’s orbit; how does it work?
As the Moon orbits around the earth, its path is elliptical rather than circular. So, there are points when the Moon is the furthest from Earth (apogee) and the closest (perigee). The Earth and the Moon together orbit around the Sun and their position to each other relative to their orbit and individual rotation is how you get the phases of the moon, lunar eclipses, and solar eclipses. The elliptical shape of Earth’s orbit and the tilt of Earth’s axis is how you get seasons. The gravitational attraction that the Moon exerts on Earth is also how you get the movement of tides. Although some have speculated that full moons and super moons have a greater effect on tides, natural disasters, and even human behavior, there is little scientific evidence to support this. There is plenty of anecdotal evidence though if you talk to nurses, teachers, and moms!
Join our HTHT @ Home Science Experiment to make your own OREO Phases of the Moon: