Here’s how to take a great photo of the biggest full moon in nearly 70 years

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CHICAGO -- If you look up at the moon in the next day or two, you might notice it looks bigger and brighter than usual. Bigger in fact, than it has appeared at any point in the last 68 years, NASA scientists say.

We won't see another supermoon likes this until 2034, so make sure you get a look.


A "supermoon" occurs when the moon becomes full on the same day as its perigee, the point in the moon's orbit when it is closest to Earth.

The term is borrowed from the pseudoscience of astrology but has been adopted by popular culture and astronomers. Supermoons generally appear to be 14% bigger and 30% brighter than other full moons.

While such moons occur around every 13 months, November's is a special one.

According to NASA, this month's supermoon "becomes full within about two hours of perigee -- arguably making it an extra-super moon."

In America, the November full moon is known as a "Beaver Moon," because it arrives at the time of year when fur trappers would hunt the dam-building animals.

According to, the moon will turn precisely full on November 14 at 7:52 a.m. CT.

Get a good shot

Want to get an awesome picture of the Supermoon? Here are tips from  NASA photographer Bill Ingalls and photographer Chris Smith:

  • Shoot the moon when it's just above the horizon to give a frame of reference
    (moonset is at 6:26 a.m. and moonrise is at 5:08 p.m. Monday).
  • Choose a great subject, or at least place something else in the shot for reference.
  • Do your research and plan in advance where to shoot - a tool like the Photographer’s Ephemeris can help you figure out where the moon will be.
  • Use a long  lens if you can, and stand far away from your subject (the moon is far away too).
  • The moon will be closest during Monday morning’s moonset, but Sunday evening will be great too.
  • Taking the pic on a smartphone? You can often lighten or darken the photo by holding your finger on the moon (for the focus) and tapping elsewhere on the photo to change the exposure.
  • Using a digital SLR? Use the daylight white balance setting.