There are five supermoon dates in 2014, with the first coming on January 1.
That will be a new moon, as will another new moon coming on January 30.
This makes January 2014 the only month with two supermoons until January 2018, according to EarthSky.
So what exactly is a supermoon? It’s when the moon is slightly closer to Earth in its orbit than usual, which is most noticeable when there’s a full moon.
“So, the moon may seem bigger although the difference in its distance from Earth is only a few percent at such times,” said Dr. James Garvin, chief scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center on the space agency’s website. “It is called a supermoon because this is a very noticeable alignment that at first glance would seem to have an effect. The ‘super’ in supermoon is really just the appearance of being closer.”
Because of how close the supermoon is, it can appear “as much as 14% larger in the sky and 30% brighter to our eyes than at minimum size and brightness,” according to NASA.
While supermoons don’t normally impact much, they may bring higher tides than usual.
The term supermoon came from astrologer Richard Nolle over 30 years ago, and is only now coming into popular usage, according to EarthSky. Nolle said a supermoon is “a new or full moon which occurs with the moon at or near (within 90% of) its closest approach to Earth in a given orbit.”
This usually means an average of four to six supermoons per year.
The other supermoons in 2014 will be on July 12, on August 10, and on September 9. The moon will be the closest to the Earth on August 10.
Before supermoons were called supermoons, they were referred to perigee full moon, or perigee new moon. Perigee means “the point in the orbit of the moon or a satellite at which it is nearest to the earth,” being derived from the Greek word perigeion, which meant “close around the Earth.”