It's nearly time for this year's Supermoon!
- Author: Sonia Alvarado Nov 30, 2017,
Nov 30, 2017, 12:27
It was not until 1979 that Astrologer Richard Nolle first invented the term supermoon. The supermoon gets its name from the fact that the lunar orbit will be very close to Earth when the full moon takes place.
Of 2017's dozen full moons, Sunday's full moon is the only one that comes close enough to Earth to claim supermoon status. And with Christmas just a few weeks away, it's also usually referred to as Moon before Long Nights Moon.
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The December full moon, even when its not a supermoon, is known as the cold moon. Syzygy means when the sun, moon and earth fine tune and come in a straight line. The moon will officially be at the closest point to Earth at 1AM PT / 4AM ET on December 4th, though it will look quite large starting the night of December 3.
In the perimeter the Moon will be 357,492 kilometers away from the Earth, while at the time of the full moon a little more (357,987 km). On Sunday night, the moon should appear about 7 percent larger and 16 percent brighter than usual, though astronomers caution it can be hard to notice the difference with the naked eye. The shortest and most distant from the Earth (406.268 km) full moon of 2017 had occurred on June 9, near its peak. The moon should sit near the constellation Taurus, though it shouldn't be hard to spot. According to NASA, the moon will be at its nearest distance to Earth - a measly 222,443 miles during this time. The first supermoon of 2018 will occur on January 2.
Supermoons do not cause extreme flooding, earthquakes or other natural disasters, NASA says.