2017 December Supermoon

The year’s largest and brightest moon, the so-called supermoon, is scheduled to make its appearance in the December sky this weekend, December 2nd through 3rd.

Supermoons are up to 14 percent larger and 30 percent brighter than typical full moons, and they only happen when a full moon is closest to Earth in its orbit.

The supermoon officially happens Sunday evening. But nearly full moons on Saturday and Monday nights are equally good nights for viewing, astronomers say.

To get the best views, you have to time it just right:

The best time is the 30-minute period after moonrise, which will be between 5 and 5:30 p.m. Saturday and between 5:53 and 6:23 p.m. Sunday. 

When the moon rises just above the horizon, objects in the foreground such as trees or buildings create the illusion that the moon is much bigger than it actually is, said Adam Block, who works at Steward Observatory in the University of Arizona’s Department of Astronomy.

Once the moon is high in the sky, you won’t be able to tell the difference between a full moon and a supermoon, he said.

For an even closer view, use binoculars or a small telescope.

A supermoon can make for dramatic photos, but a cellphone camera won’t work well. You need a camera with a long lens, said Aaron Boyd, a research analyst who studies the moon at Arizona State University’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera Science Operations Center.

You will also need to turn off the camera’s automatic settings or or turn down the exposure compensation, he said.

Clouds could limit the views this weekend. But a partly cloudy sky can make for even more interesting sights, as long as the cloud cover is not total and dense, Block said.

Even if the clouds limit or spoil your view, you won’t have to wait long for another chance.

Read original article on AZCentral here to learn more about upcoming supermoons.