The year's biggest, brightest supermoon is set to grace OR skies this Sunday.
Perigee defines the closest point in the moon's orbit around the Earth, and the Supermoon will reach this spot at 3:45 a.m. EST on Monday, Dec. 4.
For sky watchers in the United States, the full moon begins at 10:46 a.m. ET on December 3. This is what makes the natural satellite appear bigger and brighter. Specially, NASA describes the occurrence as a new or full moon that occurs when the moon is within 90% of its closest approach to Earth in a given orbit.
That's because the timing has to be just right.
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A Supermoon sets over the front range of the Rocky Mountains Colo. Nov. 15 2016. US Air Force Dennis Hoffman Public Domain
In 2016 the moon was the closest its been to the Earth since 1984 and that distance won't be challenged again until 2034. It will officially reach perigee the next day, December 4, at 3:45 a.m. ET when it is 222,135 miles away from Earth - almost 16,000 miles closer than it normally is throughout the year, Space.com reports.
Stargazers who missed the December 3 supermoon will have two more opportunities in January and February to see the bright lunar phenomenon, according to NASA. As such, it will appear 7 percent bigger and 16 percent brighter than the average full moon.
A supermoon occurs when the sun, moon and Earth align, and a full or new moon aligns with the sun's lunar orb. The first two full moons of 2018 will both be supermoons - one on January 2 and a second on January 31. It just won't be a full moon. This lunar event is a little more special than October 2017's Harvest Moon, namely because of its size and how visible it will be.
When the supermoon is viewed low on the horizon, it appears huge. The moon will be 16 percent more luminous and 7 percent bigger than it normally appears, National Geographic revealed.
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