Supermoon to brighten skies this weekend

FILE - In this Monday Feb. 9, 2009 file photo, a faint shadow from the Earth is cast over part of the Moon during a penumbral lunar eclipse, seen from Manila, Philippines. Early Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017, a partial eclipse and Comet 45P will share the sky. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WCMH) – This weekend we will have our final full moon of 2017.

The December full moon is known as the “Cold Moon” and it will be full on Sunday at 10:47 a.m.  So Saturday night, the moon will appear full at about 99 to 100 percent right before sunrise.

The moon just like the Earth does not have a completely round orbit. In fact, it is an elliptical orbit around the Earth, with an average distance from the Earth of about 238,000 miles.

However, in the orbit, the moon can get as close (perigee) as about  221,000 miles from the Earth, and as far (apogee) as a bit more than 252,000 miles from the Earth.

What is so “super” about the moon this weekend?

When the moon hits its close point (perigee) in its orbit around Earth at the same time as the full moon, this is when a “Supermoon” will occur.  The the moon will hit its perigee a little more than 222,000 miles from Earth Sunday night/Monday morning.  This is not as close as the Supermoon back in November of 2016 when we were about 221,500 miles away.  The next time we get that “super” or close again will be in November of 2034.

What can I expect out of the Supermoon?

It will appear slightly bigger than a normal full moon, and it might appear to be significantly brighter than a full moon.  It will be a neat site to see, especially with our relative clear, cool, and dry air that we will enjoy that evening.

What if I miss this Supermoon, how long will I have to wait for the next one?

The good news… you will not have to wait long at all.  In fact, we have two full moons in January of 2018, and both of them will be Supermoons!  The bad news is, that January is one of our cloudier months, so the view might not be as clear as we are going to get this weekend.

  • January 1st (before midnight)
  • January 31st (just after sunrise)

Also, the 2nd full moon is extra special, as it is many times referred to as the “blue moon” being the 2nd in a month.  There will also be a total lunar eclipse that day as well, although for us in Ohio, we should not see the total part of that eclipse before the moon sets.  It will still be a neat event either way!  It will also serve as our last Supermoon of 2018.