The word supermoon is a relatively new expression and has an origin that may be surprising. We will examine the definition of the word supermoon, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.

A supermoon is a full moon that appears during a time when the moon is the closest to the earth, making the moon appear to be brighter and larger. A supermoon may appear to be up to fourteen percent larger and up to thirty percent brighter. Of course, the size and reflective qualities of the moon remain the same, it is simply the fact that it is closer to us that makes this change in appearance. The expression supermoon was not coined by a scientist, but by the astrologer Richard Nolle in 1979. Nolle defined a supermoon as one that is a full moon when the moon is within ninety percent of its closest approach. The scientific term for a supermoon is perigee syzygy. Perigee refers to the closeness of the moon to the earth, and syzygy is the term for the alignment of the earth, moon and sun which causes the phenomenon of the full moon. Note that supermoon is a closed compound word, which is a word comprised of two separate words joined together without a hyphen or space. It is not capitalized.


In just a few days, sky-watchers around the world will get a chance to revel under the first—and last—full supermoon of the year. (National Geographic Magazine)

This year’s Cold Moon will be the fourth supermoon of the year, but the only visible one of 2017. (The Telegraph)

This weekend will mark the only visible supermoon of 2017, an event in which the moon appears to be about 14 percent larger than normal. (The Idaho Statesman)

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