Skywatchers: See full supermoon on Dec. 3

The best time to catch the full supermoon is just after sunset, when an optical illusion known as the moon illusion makes it appear much larger and brighter than when it is higher in the sky.
By Delila James | Dec 01, 2017
Weather permitting, the only full supermoon of 2017 can be seen in the night sky on Sunday, Dec. 3.

A supermoon is larger and more luminous that an ordinary full moon. It is what astronomers call a perigean full moon, or a full moon when it is at its closest point in orbit around Earth, according to NASA.

Another term for a supermoon is "perigee syzygy," with syzygy describing the alignment of the moon, Earth, and sun in a straight line.

A supermoon can appear up to 30 percent brighter and 14 percent bigger than when the moon is at its farthest distance from Earth.

The moon will reach perigee at 3:45 a.m. ET on Monday when it is 222,135 miles from Earth. The moon's average distance from Earth is 238,000 miles, according to Space.com.

The supermoon, which can be found in the constellation of Taurus, will pass in front of the bright star Aldebaran. However, in the U.S., only folks in Seattle and Alaska will get to see the occultation.

The best time to catch the full supermoon is just after sunset, when an optical illusion known as the moon illusion makes it appear much larger and brighter than when it is higher in the sky.

If you miss December's supermoon, you will get two more opportunities in early 2018, with supermoons occurring on Jan. 2 and Jan. 31. You also can catch the supermoon online at a free webcast from the Virtual Telescope Project starting at 16:00 UT on Dec. 3.

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