July 18, 2018

The best times to look at the supermoon this weekend

02 December 2017, 12:15 | Ross Houston

Science Image Source Luigi Mengato How to watch the supermoon this weekend Mike Wehner

Science								Image Source Luigi Mengato						
																	How to watch the supermoon this weekend					
		Mike Wehner

According to The Old Farmer's Almanac, supermoons appear up to 14 percent larger, and up to 30 percent brighter, than regular full moons.

While some new moons reached perigee point this year and came even closer to Earth, they fell short of full supermoon status as they were not full moons. And considering the word describes the moon when it's closest to the Earth, causing it to appear bigger than normal proves the namesake is definitely deserved.

The distance between the moon and Earth constantly changes. The full moon that will creep over the eastern horizon Sunday evening will not only be the last full moon of the year, but it will also be a supermoon. Your eye probably can't detect a difference in size between the December 3 supermoon and any ordinary full moon, although experienced observers say they can detect a size difference.

Sky watchers patiently waiting for the moon to go big this year will finally be rewarded in a couple of days as the only supermoon of 2017 will finally appear on December 3.

Because the moon's orbit is elliptical instead of round, it has a point closest to the earth (perigee) and a point farthest from the Earth (apogee).

There is also a monthly lunar cycle where you can see varying amounts of the moon depending on it's position relative to Earth and the sun.

A supermoon can only occur at during a special time called perigee-syzygy.

If the skies are clear then there should be no difficulty spotting the supermoon.

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EarthSky notes this January super blue moon "will pass right through the Earth's shadow" making for a super blue moon eclipse!

This occurs when the moon is full and at perigee simultaneously. The Moon takes about 27.32 days to orbit Earth.

That puts the moon almost 26,000 miles (41,842 kilometres) closer to Earth on Sunday than usual.

Here's a cool look at a supermoon from NASA in November of 2016 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. It's more like an oval, so at times it's closer to the Earth than it is at other times.

When the moon is closest, the tide will be at its highest, and the same happens with a new or full moon.

The good news is that we won't have to wait long for the next supermoon, with two more taking place in January - one at the start and one at the end of the month.

These are particularly high tides that can influence the oceans and raise sea level by a number of inches. It also shines 30% more moonlight, according to NASA.

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