Hi everyone and welcome new members from the Mojave National Preserve star party last weekend!  We are already setting up the spring date which we'll announce once its finalized. There were over 50 tents, over 120 attendees, a couple dozen attendees were urban youth, visiting MNP and camping out for probably the first time looking through about 10 telescopes!  Article and photos http://www.mojavepreserve.org/news/2016/11/7/promoting-the-preserve

We were expecting a lot of questions about the "Supermoon" at the telescopes tonight, but it's super cloudy, so we are cancelling our sidewalk astronomy -- we usually hold it near the first quarter moon Saturday night, but we did Mojave non that night this month since the campground was available. Both Sunday and Monday night will be about equally good to measure the "full " or what we astronomers call a "perigee" moon, so look in binos

In a nutshell a supermoon new or full moon which occurs with the Moon at or near (within 90% of) its closest approach to Earth in a given orbit.  Dubbed so by an astrologer in 2011.  Because the Moon's orbit is an ellipse instead of a circle, its distance from Earth varies during the month from about 225,800 miles (363,400 km) at perigee, or closest approach, to 252,000 miles (405,550 km) at apogee or furthest distance in the elliptical orbit. Changing the distance causes the Moon's size and brightness to change as well. A perigee moon is on average 7% bigger and 16% brighter than an average full Moon, but during an unusually close perigee (the supermoon moon), the full Moon can be 12–14% larger than a full Moon at apogee (farthest) and 30% brighter. There are nice graphics and explanations here --> http://www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/see-the-biggest-supermoon-in-68-years/

If it is clear tomorrow, the full moon rises at 4:38 p.m. here in California. The moon turns precisely full on November 14, 2016 at 1352 UTC. meaning the moon will reach the crest of its full phase on November 14 at 1352 UTC. That translates to 9:52 a.m. AST, 8:52 a.m. EST, 7:52 a.m. CST, 6:52 a.m. MST, 5:52 a.m. PST. The moon will reach perigee – the moon’s closest point to Earth for this month – within an one and one-half hours of that time.   This EarthSky article gives a lot of other great information and graphics!  http://earthsky.org/?p=190918

There are 4-6 supermoons every year, so have a look, and do what I am going to do -- make a moon measuring device and start comparing! All you need is an index card shown in the Sky and Telescope magazine article above, with some 5 mm to 10 mm slots cut unto it. 6mm is close to 1/4 inch, fyi.  Hold your moon measurer straight out, aim at the moon, and see which slot matches the moon's diameter, write down the date, repeat next full moon.  You can also hold your index finger out stretched, and see that it covers both regular full moons, closest perigee moons, as well as farthest away moons. :-)  Some astronomers hate the name Supermoon, but if it raises awareness, I'm good with it. :-)
Jane Houston Jones @jhjones
What's Up November 2016: 
Venus, Jupiter and Saturn + more meteor showers