December supermoon to brighten the night sky Sunday

Sunday

There have been three already this year (in April, May and June), according to astronomers, but they were all new moons and not visible in our nighttime skies.

This December 3, stargazers will be greeted with a special treat: the 2017 supermoon. That is, when the moon gets full right around the time of its perigee, the closest it gets to Earth.

As for seeing the supermoon yourself, all you need is a reasonably clear night and decent vision. The name perfectly relates to the chilly weather of December, as this would be the time when winter would typically toughen its grip, bringing shorter days and longer nights.

The moon will reach perigee - the moon's closest point to Earth for this month - at 3:45 a.m. ET Monday, when the moon is 222,135 miles from the Earth. The moon always appears larger when it is closer to the horizon, an illusion especially profound on a full supermoon. It is a natural part of the moon cycle and occurs around once a year.

Dr Saran told Thai PBS that the largest Super Full Moon for next year will fall on January 2 when it will be about 356,595 kilometers from the Earth.

At that moment, the moon will not be visible over most of North America.

The moon's orbit varies a lot.

Full moons normally occur when the Earth is directly in line between the moon and the sun. The tsunami that killed hundreds of thousands of people in Indonesia occurred two weeks before the Jan 2005 supermoon. The earlier three coincided with new moons when the lunar disk shows a darkened face.

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