Space, as you may have heard, is the place. There's a whole lot of crazy stuff up there to see, and, let's be honest with ourselves, how often do we take advantage of the free light show? The celestial phenomenon we probably take most for granted is the humble moon. While she might be a bit shyer than her older sister the sun, once a month she shines like a protagonist who's switched from glasses to contacts in a '90s teen comedy. And luckily for us, this Sunday, December 3 is basically moon prom, when we'll have the rare pleasure of seeing a huge, extra bright supermoon.
What is a supermoon?
A supermoon occurs when the moon is both full and near its perigee (the point at which it's closest to Earth in its orbit) and appears 14% larger and 30% brighter than normal, so you won't want to miss it. Since the moon makes its trip around Earth every month, the perigee happens once a month too. A supermoon will only happen, however, if the perigee also aligns with the full moon, which is fairly uncommon since the moon's orbit isn't perfectly circular (it's elliptical). The moon was actually closest to Earth on May 25, but because the moon was in a different phase, we didn't get a supermoon.
The moon has an average distance of 238,000 miles from the Earth, but at its perigee this week, it'll be only 222,135 miles from Earth. That's not exactly close enough to touch, but it'll make a big difference to the naked eye.