Residents get a glimpse of the 'supermoon' Sunday night

Janie Parker
December 3, 2017

The Moon will lose its brightness and take on an eerie, fainter-than-normal glow from the scant sunlight that makes its way through Earth's atmosphere. The point farthest away from the Earth is called apogee.

According to Michelle Nichols, director of public observing at Chicago's Adler Planetarium, there is a reason behind the moon's captivating close approach to the Earth.

In the United Kingdom, the supermoon will reach the peak of its full phase at 3.47pm on 3 December, according to the Met Office.

This means that each month the moon reaches a furthest point from earth and a closest point. When two full moons occur in the same month, the second is sometimes called a blue moon or, in this case, a super blue moon. This is due to an optical illusion that makes the super moon appear much bigger and brighter than it will look when it rises higher in the sky.

It's worth noting that a supermoon technically occurs during a new moon, too, but that phenomenon usually isn't referred to as a supermoon since new moons are not visible in the night sky. When the moon is full during the portion of its orbit that brings it closest to Earth, Space.com reports, a supermoon occurs.

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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.

Going to miss Sunday's supermoon?

The best times to see it, experts say, are right after sundown and just before sunrise the next day.

When the supermoon is viewed low on the horizon, it appears huge.

And this will be a particularly bright supermoon for the United States, thanks to the more intense sunlight that reflects off the moon in winter, NASA said. "Some people perceive the rising moon as twice as large...", said Paranjpye.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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