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The "Supermoon" of March 19, 2011 (right), compared to a rather "average" moon of December 20, 2010 (left)
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Alternative forms[edit]


super- +‎ moon. Coined by astrologer Richard Nolle in 1979.[1]


supermoon (plural supermoons)

  1. (astrology, astronomy) A full moon or new moon, when the Earth–Moon distance is in the lowest tenth of its range.
    Antonym: micromoon
    • 2014 September 7, Natalie Angier, “The Moon comes around again [print version: Revisiting a moon that still has secrets to reveal: Supermoon revives interest in its violent origins and hidden face, International New York Times, 10 September 2014, p. 8]”, in The New York Times[2]:
      And should the moon happen to hit its ever-shifting orbital perigee at the same time that it lies athwart from the sun, we are treated to a so-called supermoon, a full moon that can seem close enough to embrace – as much as 12 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter than the average full moon. [] Some astronomers dislike the whole supermoon hoopla. They point out that the term originated with astrology, not astronomy; that perigee full moons are not all that rare, coming an average of every 13 months; and that their apparently swollen dimensions are often as much a matter of optical illusion and wishful blinking as of relative lunar nearness.

Usage notes[edit]

Some claim this is not a syzygy unless a solar eclipse or lunar eclipse also occurs, but most references disagree.



See also[edit]


  1. ^ Richard Nolle (accessed 14 March 2011; no publication date; modified March 10, 2011), “Supermoon”, in Astropro[1]:
    SuperMoon is a word I coined in a 1979 article for Dell Publishing Company's HOROSCOPE magazine, describing 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 (perigee). In short, Earth, Moon and Sun are all in a line, with Moon in its nearest approach to Earth.