December 3 2017
Tonight is officially the December Full Moon known as the Cold Moon or Long Night Moon. It also happens to be a supermoon. That means it is full for our view while at its closest approach or perigee on the orbit around Earth. Well, within 90% or 12 day of the closest part of the elliptical (not circular) orbit. The moon will officially be full one day prior to perigee this month. This will make is appear slightly larger and brighter than normal. You may have already noticed it, and it was blurred by high clouds in the Mid Atlantic region yesterday. We still have a chance to get the full effect today.
Watching the moon early in the evening in contrast with objects on the ground give the best perspective for size. Throughout the night you will notice the brighter light for sure.
The image above is from my friend and professional photographer Sebastien Lebrigan. He is based out of Paris, France and loves to photograph planes in contrast to the moon and sun. Check out his work on Twitter @lebribri
Distance from Earth at time of full moon:
This full moon will be 30,000 miles closer than the smallest moon of the year in June.
- 222,443 miles – December 3, 2017
- 238,900 miles – Average Distance
- 252,443 – Smallest Moon of the year on June 9, 2017
The official time of full moon is during the day today, but it will be slightly more luminous than it was last evening (weather permitting).
- Full moon time is 10:47 AM EST on December 3
- Lunar Perigee is 3:42 AM EST on December 4
Will You See It?
Moon Rise: 5:12 PM EST
The high thin clouds the blurred the moon last night should be less prominent. Most of our region should enjoy a clear or mostly clear sky, however there will be clouds departing to the east. So while the thin cloud cover may remain over part of the coast and Delmarva, that is the eastern sky view for central Maryland. That might interfere a little with moonrise, but a better chance of a clear view all the way through farther west.
More Supermoons and a Blue Moon in January
There will be three full moons in a row including two in January. That means the their one on January 31 will be s Blue Moon (by common definition since it is the second full moon in the same month)
The middle of a trifecta of blue moons is often the closest and largest.
Full moon distance (2017 Dec 3 at 10:47 AM EST): 222,443 miles
Lunar perigee distance (2017 Dec 4 at 3:42 AM EST): 222,197 miles
Full moon distance (2018 Jan 1 at 9:24 PM EST): 221,734 miles (*710 miles closer)
Lunar perigee distance (2018 Jan 1 at 4:54 PM UTC): 221,559 miles
Full moon distance (2018 Jan 31 at 8:27 AM EST): 223,817 miles
Lunar perigee distance (2018 Jan 30 at 4:54 AM EST): 223,069 miles
Supermoon Eclipse on January 31
We wil begin to see the transition before sunrise, but the greatest eclipse time will be at 8:30 AM EST, after the moon sets for us. It will look partially *blood orange) as it sets in our western sky though.
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