Supermoon 2017: This weekend's moon is the biggest of the year


The first supermoon in December has a range of names, including the full cold moon.

The moon will become totally full at 15:47 GMT (10:47 EST), but will reach its peak brightness and size on Monday morning. Nolle said that a supermoon is a new or full moon that occurs when the moon is within 90 percent of its closest approach to Earth, known as perigee, in a given orbit.

Next year, there will be two January supermoons, one Jan. 1 and 2 and the second on Jan. 31. This produces variations in the moons apparent size and brightness. At that time, it will be a supermoon, the only one in 2017. The best time to view the moon will be just after sunset on December 3, according to Fortune, although the moon will technically be at the closest point to Earth around 4 a.m. EST on December 4. The distance between the Moon and Earth varies due to the elliptical orbit of the Moon around Earth.

Native Americans dubbed December's full moon the Full Cold Moon because it signals the beginning of winter when cold weather fastens its grip on much of the country until spring. It's more like an oval, so at times it's closer to the Earth than it is at other times. It'll be 2017's first, last and only supermoon.

Here's a cool look at a supermoon from NASA in November of 2016 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

The supermoon can be viewed with the naked eye between the moonrise time over the eastern horizon and the moonset time in the western horizon.

National Geographic reported that the Dec. 3 supermoon will appear 7 percent larger and 16 percent brighter than a normal December full moon.

"Tap the screen and hold your finger on the object (in this case, the moon) to lock the focus".

"Often I find when the moon is near the horizon I have a better chance of incorporating it with a landmark or person, but there are no rules and sometimes a tall object such as the Washington Monument here in D.C. can be used when the moon is at a very high angle".

Unlike a solar eclipse, a supermoon can be viewed without any kind of eye protection, so you won't have to worry with getting special viewing glasses for this phenomenon.

"You can do the experiment with your outstretched thumb. It's a fun way to get involved in science".