‘Supermoon’ to brighten up skies on Sunday night

The moon will appear about 14% bigger and 30% brighter. The difference, however, is barely noticeable to the human eye.

science Updated: Dec 03, 2017 17:05 IST
Malavika Vyawahare
Malavika Vyawahare
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Supermoon,Moon,Full moon
A supermoon is a moon that is full when it is also at or near its closest point in its orbit around Earth.(Aalok Soni/HT File Photo)

Sunday night might be the best time for a moonlit rendezvous.

At exactly 9:17 pm IST, scientists predict, the moon will appear the brightest and biggest in at least the next 15 years.

A supermoon is visible on earth when it’s not just full moon but when the lunar orbit passes closest or near to the earth. This is because the moon’s orbit around the earth is elliptical rather than being a perfect circle.

The moon appears 30% brighter and 14% bigger, differences that might be lost on the human eye when it’s hanging high in the sky.

The best time to catch a glimpse is during moonrise and when it sets.

Since it’s bang in the middle of winter it’s sometimes also called a cold moon or frosty moon.

“The supermoons are a great opportunity for people to start looking at the moon, not just that once but every chance they have!” Noah Petro, a research scientist from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, said in a release.

Don’t forget to catch earth’s only natural satellite in its full glory tonight.

The Sunday’s supermoon is one in a three part series according to NASA. Another supermoon sighting is expected on Jan 1 and Jan 31, 2018.

First Published: Dec 03, 2017 14:17 IST