Cold moon 2017: December’s supermoon will be the brightest of the year


December is set to play host to the year's brightest supermoon as our celestial neighbor gets to the closest point in its orbit (perigee) in the first week of the month.

Also known as the "cold moon", the supermoon will appear on the night of December 3rd and (providing the skies stay clear) will be visible all across the UK.

We've actually had three previous supermoons this year, but they've all coincided with the "new moon" phase when the moon's face is darkened by shadows. So it will be the first of the year we will be able to see

In order to qualify as a supermoon, the orbit has to bring it within 22,443 miles of Earth.

When is the December supermoon ?

 The moon raises over the landmark of Myanmar
The moon raises over the landmark of Myanmar

This year's December supermoon will fall on the afternoon / evening of 3 December 2017.

It will be at its brightest at 4.47pm and will shine to brilliant white as it reaches the center of the night sky.

There's no need for any kind of binoculars or telescopes as the moon will Be perfectly visible with the naked eye. Although, if you want to get some special pictures, then you could come in handy.

What is a full moon?

Full moons occur when the Earth It is directly in line between the moon and the sun.

Appearing every 29 and half days, they take place when the Moon is completely illuminated by the Sun's rays.

Each month's full moon possesses its very own special name. 19659005] Why is it called to Cold Moon?

 Supermoon rises in central Prague, Czech Republic
Supermoon rises in central Prague, Czech Republic

The name fittingly relates to the chilly weather of December, as this would be the time when the winter would typically be its grip, bringing shorter and longer nights

And with Christmas just a few weeks away, it's also often referred to as Moon before Yule or Long Nights Moon.

Is there a big difference with a supe

 The Supermoon over the Tempel of Apollo in Ancient Corinth
The Supermoon over the Tempel of Apollo in Ancient Corinth

Dr Marek Kukula, Public Astronomer at the Royal Observatory Greenwich, said: "If a full moon happens to occur when the moon is also at its closest point then it will look slightly larger and brighter than usual, popularly known as a 'supermoon'.

" It is a natural part of the moon cycle and happens around eleven a year.

"The differences in apparent size and brightness amount to a few percent but they can enhance the already beautiful sight of the full moon, making a supermoon worth looking up for."

What's the history of supermoons?

 The supermoon over Frankfurt am Main, Germany
The supermoon over Frankfurt am Main, Germany

It was not until 1979 that Astrologer Richard Nolle first coined the word supermoon.

It is "a new full moon which occurs with the moon at or near (within 90% of) its closest approach to Earth in a given orbit." [19659002] The moon has to be no more than 226,000 miles (363,711 km) away from the Earth to be considered 'super'. It will happen only once every 14 months.

Supermoons will get smaller in the future as the moon is slowly propelling itself out of Earth's orbit, moving 1.5 inches (3.8cm) further from the Earth each year.

Previous supermoons took place in 1955, 1974, 1992 and 2005 – all of which had extreme weather events. The tsunami that killed hundreds of thousands of people in Indonesia happened two weeks before the Jan 2005 supermoon. On Christmas Day 1974, Cyclone Tracy laid waste to Darwin, Australia.

But experts say it causes no more than a higher tide than usual, and can not be blamed for freak weather – or werewolves.

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