Catch the only supermoon of 2017 on Sunday


Sky watchers patiently waiting for the moon to go big this year will finally be rewarded in a couple of days as the only supermoon of 2017 will finally appear on December 3. Why are they so rare? And considering the word describes the moon when it's closest to the Earth, causing it to appear bigger than normal proves the namesake is definitely deserved.

Last year's supermoon saw the closest lunar approach in 69 years, but unfortunately the moon will not creep this close again until 2034.

Why? The timing has to be just right.

(Second animation): This animation shows the moon orbiting Earth at the same distance as the ISS.

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Mr Tavernier added: "Full moons can occur at any point along the Moon's elliptical path, but when a full moon occurs at or near the perigee, it looks slightly larger and brighter than a typical full moon". Perigee is about 30,000 miles closer to Earth than apogee.

The term supermoon was coined 30 years ago by astronomer Richard Nolle, and it describes the "perigee-syzygy of the Earth-Moon-Sun system".

What if the moon and planets were closer to Earth?

Have you ever wished the Jupiter or Saturn were closer to Earth?

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"The sunlight reaching and reflecting off the Moon this time of year is about 7 percent more intense [than in the summer]", explains NASA.

But although the moon is the biggest and closest it can be to us, don't expect too much.

While the moon is undoubtedly both bigger and brighter than usual, our eyes tend to trick us into seeing the moon as larger than it truly is. Additionally, some folktales note that if there is a snow storm during the Cold Full Moon, the snow will stop by the time the moon rises, which is good news for those who want to view the supermoon. However, if you watch a supermoon is when it's low, near the horizon, you can fully appreciate this rare moment in space and time.

While the supermoon can come out looking larger in photos (thanks to long lenses and editing) than it does when looking at it in person, Nichols says it is an incredible opportunity to get people interested in science and astronomy. But, why does the moon look so much larger, and yet so much further away, while it's ascending in the sky versus when it's directly overhead?

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Part of it depends on where you're viewing the supermoon.