Supermoon lights up the sky


This year's supermoon appeared bold and bright in the sky overnight.

This happens on a monthly basis, but occasionally the point of perigee aligns with a new or full moon and results in a "perigean spring tide".

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 fact, the change in the moon's apparent size throughout its orbit is imperceptible to the unaided eye.

Past year the moon made its closest approach to the Earth since 1948, and it won't be this close again until November 25, 2034.

The moon vacillates between 363,000 and 406,000 km in distance from earth.

Supermoons occur because of the shape of the moon's orbit around Earth.

Here are photos of the December 3 supermoon rising around the world. The next supermoon will appear next month, not once but twice. The scientific term is "perigee syzygy".

Clear skies across most of the country made for great viewing conditions, with many would-be astronomers climbing Auckland's volcanos to get the ideal shot as the moon rose over the horizon just before 9pm. That's when we see two full moons in one calendar month.

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

December's Full Moon is traditionally known as the "cold moon".

The next supermoon full moons will be on January 1st and January 31st.