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First supermoon of 2017

December 03, 2017; 2:41 PM

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It's baaaaaaack........The first supermoon of 2017 waited until December. But, the full moon tonight will be the brightest, biggest full moon of the year.

The moon will be 8% larger, and 16% brighter. A supermoon really isn't anything fancy. The moon's orbit around the earth is not a perfect circle. So, every 28 days, it reaches a farthest point and a closest point to earth. These area called lunar apogee and lunar perigee.

For example over the next 28 days, the closest the moon will be is 222,135 miles. The farthest it will be is 252,651 miles. That is a difference of 30,000 miles. So, it is about 13% closer now than it will be in a couple of weeks.

The East Coast has the bet chance to see the moon tonight. A large storm will impact the western and central states with cloudy skies.

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If you miss the moon tonight, we have TWO Supermoons in January. And the second full moon will of course be the famous "blue moon." This is term given to a full moon that happens to be the second in a calendar month. Thus the phrase, "once in a blue moon" has been coined as something that doesn't happen very often.

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AccuWeather Astronomy Facebook friend Deirdre Horan shares her view of the nearly full moon Friday.


But wait, there's more!!!! This second full moon in January will be eclipsed! It will be the first total lunar eclipse since 2015! The eclipse will be visible across the country, though the moon will set before the total phase starts across the eastern time zone. The entire eclipse will be visible across eastern Asia and Australia.

Then, interestingly enough, February will not have a full moon. So, the new moon will be considered a "black moon" Yes, it's another catchy term. But, it is rather unusual to go a month without a full moon. In fact, there hasn't been a month without a full moon since February 1999. The next month with no full moon will not be until 2037!!! So, if you say once in a black moon, it really means something.

Enjoy your time outside. Not too many things are free anymore; however, looking at the night sky is still one of those things. Thanks for reading! Just look up, you never know what you will see.

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or AccuWeather.com

More Dave Samuhel

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