Since the moon does not orbit the Earth in a perfect circle, the perigee (the closest point that the moon comes in relation to the planet) changes from year to year. Tonight (November 14, 2016) marks the largest “supermoon” seen in six decades. The moon will not appear so large in the sky again until November 25, 2034.
According to ancient Algonquin lore, the full moons of autumn had various sacred names (well, at least according to the Farmer’s Almanac). The full August moon was the “Sturgeon Moon” because the great fish came together to mate at that time. Likewise, the September full moon occurred when the maize ripened and was thus called “the Corn Moon”. After the harvest, when the weather was perfect for hunting, the October full moon was “the Hunter’s Moon”. The full moon of November was known as the Beaver Moon, since it was an ideal time to trap beaver, which were out and about putting their affairs in order before winter (indeed the industrious rodents were nearly exterminated by trappers—but that is another story).
Tonight’s full moon is thus the Beaver Super Moon. You should go out and appreciate it! For who knows what the future will hold? There may be clouds on the night of November 25, 2034 or maybe you will be on a floating Venus colony with me. Maybe cruel Empress Ivanna will have you chained up and working underground, mining the last seams of coal to feed the Earth’s final sputtering machines. Maybe you will just be busy sending pointless administrative files to people.
Enjoy the Beaver Super Moon! Then later this week, in honor of the season, we will get back to talking about turkeys!