Super moon to be seen on Sunday night

A supermoon with a plane flying in front of

ADRIAN DENNIS Getty Images

You'll have another chance to see a supermoon on January 1, which marks the brightest full moon of 2018. The Dec. 3 Full Cold Moon will be 2017's only "supermoon". During a supermoon, the full moon comes to fruition at the same time as a close pass.

It is believed that for a moon to be considered a supermoon it must be within 226,000 miles from the earth. Its distance from Earth would be 3,57,983 km. It is anticipated that it will be within 222,443 miles from our planet at 4 pm on December 4.

The supermoon tends to be brighter and appear to be larger than its usual size. "Nearby perigee full moons appear about 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter than full moons that occur near apogee in the moon's orbit".

The Moon will lose its brightness and take on an eerie, fainter-than-normal glow from the scant sunlight that makes its way through Earth's atmosphere.

But the astronomer warned that as use of the nickname "supermoon" grows, so do expectations.

It's worth noting that a supermoon technically occurs during a new moon, too, but that phenomenon usually isn't referred to as a supermoon since new moons are not visible in the night sky.

When the supermoon is viewed low on the horizon, it appears huge.

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If you miss this year's supermoon, don't worry. This effect is termed as "moon illusion". At this time, the moon also appears both bigger and brighter than it actually is.

"We're seeing all of the Earth's sunrises and sunsets at that moment reflected from the surface of the Moon", says Sarah Noble, a Program Scientist at NASA headquarters.

Will you be sky-watching on Monday night?

Though this will be the fourth supermoon of 2017, the previous three were not visible because they coincided with new moons.

"The supermoon is a 16-inch pizza compared with a 15-inch pizza", he says.

"Just be careful", he said.

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