Spectacular Supermoon| A bright ball of light in the sky

The whole world witnessed the first (and last) "Supermoon" of 2017 on December 3rd. This ball of light appeared bigger and brighter in the sky as it moved closer to Earth.

According to NASA, a Supermoon is a Moon that is full when it is at its closest point in its orbit around Earth. Moon appear up to 14 percent larger and 30 percent brighter than usual. The moon became totally full at 10:47 a.m. EST (1547 GMT) on Sunday (Dec. 3).

NASA has said that Sunday's Supermoon is first in a series of three Supermoons which is termed as a Supermoon trilogy. The next two will appear on January 1 and 31, 2018. The Jan. 31 Supermoon is also the second full moon of January, making it a Blue Moon, and also occurs during a total lunar eclipse. 

So how exactly does this Supermoon occur? Well here is the answer. The moon's average distance is 382,900 km from Earth, its orbit isn't perfectly circular i.e., it is elliptical. When it reaches apogee, or its farthest distance from Earth, it will be 406,603 km away. That's a difference of 48,110 km — but the moon's distance from Earth can vary more than that. Supermoons don't happen every month because the moon's orbit changes orientation as the Earth goes around the sun.

This event was visible from northern Canada, Alaska, eastern Russia, Kazakhstan, much of China and as far south as Bangladesh. In the continental U.S., residents of Washington state, Seattle, Boise and Idaho watched this event.  

Did you know that there are multiple names for Moon? Well, yes according to the Old Farmer's Almanac, the name of the full moon in December is "Full Cold Moon.” According to the Ontario Native Literacy Project, the Ojibwe called December's full moon "Mnidoons Giizis," the "Big Spirit Moon" or "Blue Moon." The Haida of the Pacific Northwest called it the "Snow Moon," or "Ta'aaw Kungaay." Among the Hopi, the lunation just before the winter solstice was the "Sparrow-Hawk" moon.

Whatever the name be, moon is always a spectacular view, especially during these cold nights. Moon also reflects love and purity. Let’s hope this brighter and bigger moon of 2017 will bring a pure and love-filled New Year!


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