Friday, 15 December, 2017

Supermoon 2017: How to watch it this weekend

A view of super moon A view of super moon
Garry Little | 03 December, 2017, 00:38

The last full moon of 2017 is happening this weekend and will be the biggest and brightest of 2017!

Astrologer Richard Nolle defined a supermoon in 1979, but the term has really taken off in the past few years. Before you dig out your telescope, however, here's what you need to know about the only supermoon of 2017 - and the best time to view it. The moon will be a little over 222,000 miles away from the earth at that time. This makes the full moon appear even larger and luminous due to its increased proximity to the planet.

A new moon is the first phase in the lunar cycle that occurs when the moon is in conjunction with the sun - but is not visible from Earth. At its closest, it looks 14 percent larger and 30 percent brighter than it does at its farthest.

According to a press release issued by Poornaprajna Amateur Astronomers' Club Co-ordinator Dr A P Bhat, supermoons happen when a full moon approximately coincides with a moon's perigee or a point in its elliptical orbit at which it is closest to earth.

The only supermoon of the year is slated for December 3, 2017, at precisely 15:47 UTC, according to EarthSky.org. When two full moons occur in the same month, the second is sometimes called a blue moon or, in this case, a super blue moon.

"The supermoons are a great opportunity for people to start looking at the moon", said Noah Petro, a research scientist from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. You also can catch the supermoon online at a free webcast from the Virtual Telescope Project starting at 16:00 UT on December 3. NASA calls it the supermoon trilogy, with the next two occurring on January 1 and January 31.

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