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As we all know the usual distance between earth and moon is 384,400 km. But i was thinking how much closer it will be on 14 November 2016, as it will be a supermoon, the brightest and biggest moon in 60 years.

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From where I am on Vancouver Island, western Canada, it will be around 356,500 km. screenshot

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Based on some information from this article

http://www.space.com/34515-supermoon-guide.html

The Nov 14 2016 supermooon's expected peak of full phase is on the morning ov Nov 14 at 8:52 AM EST

According to some quick calculations that I performed using PyEphem

and assuming the moon would be viewed by an observer in NYC at 08:52AM EST

0.00236372323707 AU from observer An AU is 1.5 * 10^km

Edit: I needed a better precision for km to AU

http://www.iau.org/static/resolutions/IAU2012_English.pdf

According to this, the AU can be more precisely defined as 149 597 870 700 meters +/- 3 meters

0.00236372323707 * 149 597 870 700 =

353 607 963.19 meters or

~ 353,608 km from earth

here is a quick run through of the inputs I used for the program

>>> moon = ephem.Moon()
>>> nyc = ephem.Observer()
>>> nyc.long, nyc.lat = '-74.0059', '40.7127'
>>> nyc.date = '2016/11/14 08:52:00'
>>> moon.compute(nyc)
>>> print moon.earth_distance

    0.00236372323707

Learn more about PyEphem package here http://rhodesmill.org/pyephem/index.html

Note I'm just an amateur and these calculations might not take in certain critical factors. I'm uncertain if PyEphems earth_distance property calculates distance to the moon or the moon's center.

If it does calculate distance to the center of the moon this number could be about ~1700 km smaller.

Given your figure of 384,400 km average, this would put the moon just under

~30 792 km closer to the earth or about 91.98 % of it's normal distance

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  • $\begingroup$ How do you multiply by something with two significant figure precision to get something quoted to 7 significant figures? $\endgroup$
    – ProfRob
    Nov 12, 2016 at 11:01
  • $\begingroup$ Good point. I need a better figure for KM per AU $\endgroup$ Nov 12, 2016 at 16:11

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