Published: Sat, December 02, 2017
Research | By Derrick Holloway

The only supermoon this year is coming up on Sunday

The only supermoon this year is coming up on Sunday

The term was coined and defined in 1979 by an astrologer, but it is a time when the moon will appear a little bigger and a little brighter than normal.

January 2018 will feature two full moon supermoons.

Last year's supermoon saw the closest lunar approach in 69 years, but unfortunately the moon will not creep this close again until 2034. The moon will look bigger when it is near the horizon and framed with a building or object on the foreground. Because the moon's orbit is not a flawless circle, it's technically anywhere from 252,000 to 226,000 miles away from Earth, typically, according to Newsweek. It also shines 30% more moonlight, according to NASA. Other native American tribes called it the Long Nights Moon because it occurs close to the winter solstice, the shortest night of the year, The Old Farmer's Almanac explained. This is known as the moon illusion and the moon hasn't grown; it's a trick your eyes are playing on you. However, that's not necessarily the best time to see it. National Geographic reported that the best time to view this bright beauty is right after sunset on december 3 when the Full Cold Moon rises.

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So, why is the moonrise the best time to view the supermoon?

It takes the Moon just slightly over 27 days to fully orbit the Earth, and during this time the natural satellite reaches both its apogee and perigee.

For everyone waiting to catch a glimpse of the last supermoon of 2017, taking pictures to preserve the moment can be easy.

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For those using DSLR cameras, Ingalls recommends using another subject in the image, like a person, pet or landmark to compare to the size of the moon.

"It will reach its highest point above the horizon at midnight".

Unlike a solar eclipse, a supermoon can be viewed without any kind of eye protection, so you won't have to worry with getting special viewing glasses for this phenomenon.

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Many assume it's hard to differentiate between a supermoon and a regular full moon. "It's a fun way to get involved in science".

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