First and Only Visible Supermoon of 2017 Shines This Weekend
Hey Luke Skywatcher,
The first and only visible super moon of 2017 will occur this coming weekend.
From Sunday night into Monday morning, Dec. 3, the moon will shine up to 16 percent brighter and 7 percent larger than normal.
Because the moon's orbit of the Earth is not perfectly circular, it is somewhat elongated, its distance from us varies.
That means the moon changes its distance to Earth by a few thousand miles over time, reaching a closest point (perigee) and a farthest point (apogee) in any given month. A supermoon occurs when the closest point to Earth in the moon's orbit coincides with a full moon.
This makes the moon appear larger and brighter in the sky than usual. Look for it at 1 a.m. on Monday morning to see the moon at its nearest distance to Earth --222,443 miles. (Usually, the moon averages about 252-thousand miles. To see the supermoon at its most vivid, try to catch a glimpse just after sunrise. A phenomenon called the "moon illusion" makes the moon look much larger than at its peak height.