Catch 2017's last supermoon on Dec. 3

The moon will appear up to 14% larger and 30% brighter than normal

If you pop outside this weekend, you might be able to catch a peek of the last supermoon of 2017. It will rise around 5 p.m. on Sunday.

A supermoon is different than a normal moon because of where it’s at in its orbit, which isn’t a perfect circle. On average, the moon’s about 238,000 miles away. However, on the far end of its orbit, there’s what’s called the apogee. When the moon is closest to Earth, that’s the perigee.

December’s full moon is nicknamed the “cold moon” and will reach perigee early Monday morning, a mere 222,135 miles from Earth. That might not seem too close, but it’s close enough to appear up to 14 percent larger and 30 percent brighter than the full moon at apogee.

‘Supermoon’ isn’t an official astrological term, but it was coined in 1979 by a astrologist. The technical name for what we’re about to see is ‘perigee-syzygy.’ This is our third one of those this year, but the others occurred during the new moon when we can’t see it.

Since we will be able to scope out this one, experts say moonrise is the best time. That’s when the moon is just above the horizon. Of course, it all depends on whether the weather cooperates.

© 2017 KHOU-TV


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