Published: Sat, December 02, 2017
Science | By Cecil Little

Catch the only supermoon of 2017 on Sunday

Catch the only supermoon of 2017 on Sunday

On Dec. 3 the moon will appear about 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter in the night sky. The best time to view the moon will be just after sunset on December 3, according to Fortune, although the moon will technically be at the closest point to Earth around 4 a.m. EST on December 4. At this time, the moon also appears both bigger and brighter than it actually is.

The moon will be visible from Earth with the naked eye, just as it always is.

For more details, check your local moonrise and moonset locations here.

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Lyle Tavernier from Nasa's Jet Propulsion Lab said: "The Moon doesn't orbit in a flawless circle". Additionally, some folktales note that if there is a snow storm during the Cold Full Moon, the snow will stop by the time the moon rises, which is good news for those who want to view the supermoon. "Supermoon" is a popular term that has become more common in recent years, referring to a full moon that occurs when the moon is closest to the Earth in its orbit.

This point where its orbit is closest to Earth is called the perigee. Amateur astronomer, Nick Holmes, has calculated how big each planet would look in our sky if it replaced the moon.

The supermoon will happen again on January 2, 2018.

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If the skies are clear then there should be no difficulty spotting the supermoon. "That's because the other three supermoons of 2017 coincided with new moons, when the lunar disk shows a totally darkened face", Andrew Fazekas wrote for National Geographic.

This year, this Sunday night, the moon is forecast to shine 16% brighter and appear 7% larger than its usual size. Because the moon's orbit is not a ideal circle, it's technically anywhere from 252,000 to 226,000 miles away from Earth, typically, according to Newsweek.

This Sunday the moon will be about 222,272 miles from the Earth.

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On average, the distance between the Earth and the Moon is usually 238,000 miles. This is rare because as the Earth revolves around the sun, the moon's orientation to Earth stays mostly the same.

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