Skywatchers and stargazers have three opportunities to see a supermoon between Sunday and Jan. 31.
According to www.nasa.gov, “A supermoon is a moon that is full when it is also at or near its closest point in its orbit around Earth. Since the moon’s orbit is elliptical, one side (apogee) is about 30,000 miles (50,000 km) farther from Earth than the other (perigee). Nearby perigee full moons appear about 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter than full moons that occur near apogee in the moon’s orbit.”
“The supermoons are a great opportunity for people to start looking at the moon,” said Noah Petro, a research scientist from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.
The Dec. 3. supermoon will become completely full at 7:47 a.m. PST, according to Space.com. You’ll have to wait until moonrise to truly experience the sight, according to travelandleisure.com. In the U.S., that will occur sometime around 5 p.m. local time and last throughout the night
Too busy to for moon viewing on Sunday? NASA officials said the second supermoon is coming on New Year’s Day. Too sleepy that day? A third supermoon on Jan. 31 will be extra special.
Here’s why, according to NASA:
“The Jan. 31 supermoon will feature a total lunar eclipse, with totality viewable from western North America across the pacific to Eastern Asia. The moon’s orbit around our planet is tilted so it usually falls above or below the shadow of the earth. About twice each year, a full moon lines up perfectly with the earth and sun such that earth’s shadow totally blocks the sun’s light, which would normally reflect off the moon.”
The lunar eclipse on Jan. 31 will be visible during moonset. That supermoon will also be the second full moon of the month, making it a “super blue moon.”
Anthony Sorci: 916-321-1051.