Published: Fri, December 01, 2017
Research | By Jennifer Evans

Check out the only supermoon of 2017 this weekend

Check out the only supermoon of 2017 this weekend

But what is a supermoon?

According to NASA, supermoons happen when the moon is full at the point in its orbit at which it is closest to Earth, also known as the moon's perigee.

In order to see the moon most clearly, stargazers should opt to travel outside of city limits; light pollution from the city lights obscures the view. This is the year's first full moon that is a "supermoon" - when the moon is especially close to Earth.

Mr Kerss explained: "During moonrise and moonset, you might think the moon looks unusually large, but this is an illusion created in the mind when it appears close to the horizon".

As in 2016, December's full "cold moon" will again be a supermoon, though this time it will not coincide with the annual Geminid meteor shower.

A supermoon in 2016 seen over Lancashire
A supermoon in 2016 seen over Lancashire

And Sunday's supermoon marks the closest the lunar orb will come to our planet this year, just under 222,500 miles away. The moon's orbit around Earth isn't a flawless circle, which means that its distance to Earth changes as it goes around. The closest supermoon recorded in almost 70 years reportedly occurred in November 2016. This is rare because as the Earth revolves around the sun. the moon's orientation to Earth stays mostly the same.

For sky gazers in the US, the moon will become totally full at 10:47 a.m. ET on December 3. Kerss also mentioned that looking directly at the Cold Moon this weekend, using the naked eye or even binoculars, is perfectly fine. Over many years, the moon's precession changes its orientation slightly.

How often do supermoons occur?

Guess what: It's supermoon time! So you can fully appreciate this rare moment in space and time.

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