The only supermoon of 2017 will make a world-wide appearance on Sunday. The lunar spectacle also called a Cold Moon, presents when a full moon is at its closest position in its orbital relation to the Earth.
The perfect combination makes the moon appear up to 14 percent larger and brighter by as much as 30 percent.
The pinnacle of the supermoon officially happens at 3:45 a.m. on Monday, December 4, but viewing will be impressive throughout the duration of the moon’s appearance on Sunday night.
The vicinity of the moon in relationship to the Earth is generally 238,000 miles. However, Sunday night, the Earth and the moon will snuggle approximately 16,000 miles closer to each other, creating the moon’s larger than life appearance.
Most astronomers suggest to begin viewing as the sun sets on Sunday evening. The rise of the Cold Moon will be impressive, as will the moments before Monday morning’s sunrise.
Since the moon’s orbit (every 29.5 days) is more of an oval than a circle, the distance between the Earth and moon vary. Over the course of each orbit, there is a close point to the Earth (perigee), and a far point (apogee). The supermooon appears when the full moon coincides with the perigee.
While ‘supermoon’ might not be a descriptively accurate term for perigee syzygy, our eyes may trick us into believing that the moon is actually bigger than usual. The moon itself does not change in size at all.
The closer the moon is to the horizon, the larger the moon’s appearance will be, giving sunset/moon rise and sunrise the best chances for the most incredible viewing.
From astronomers to photographers, the supermoon is a highly anticipated event, but if you miss this year’s spectacle, do not worry. January 2018 will bring two consecutive supermoons.
No matter the motivation to see the Cold Moon, it’s a great opportunity to get outside and enjoy the night sky.