First (and last) supermoon of 2017 is coming

  • First (and last) supermoon of 2017 is coming

First (and last) supermoon of 2017 is coming

The last full moon of 2017 will appear especially plump and vibrant in the night sky on Sunday (Monday NZ time). At that same time, the moon will make its closest approach to the Earth - the definition of a supermoon. When this happened past year, the moon appeared up to 14 percent larger and 30 percent brighter than normal. This happens at the time of the month when both the sun and the moon line up with the earth between them.

An image of the moon taken by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter is shown in two halves to illustrate the difference between the apparent size of a supermoon (left) and a "micromoon" (right).

However, the moon will reach its closest point to the earth at 9am GMT on 4 December when it will come within just 222,443 miles of the earth.

Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) has denied reports of supermoon sighting in Pakistan in a statement issued on Saturday by clearing that it would be full moon instead. You also can catch the supermoon online at a free webcast from the Virtual Telescope Project starting at 16:00 UT on December 3. You'll want at least a light jacket as temperatures drop into the mid 40s overnight.

There is an option offered by the Italian-based Virtual Telescope Project, which consists of several robotic telescopes remotely accessible in real-time over the Internet. The other is exclusively for members of Slooh, and astronomically-inclined streaming outlet.

The viewing for the supermoon might not be optimal though, as the National Weather Service is calling for limited visibility with a partly cloudy evening Sunday.

Skywatchers and stargazers have three opportunities to see a supermoon between Sunday and January 31.