Science

2018 will start with a brilliant New Year's Day Supermoon

It will be one to check out.

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New Year’s Day will see the biggest and brightest supermoon of 2018.

The moon will appear about 14% bigger and 30% brighter in the sky as it sits closer than average to Earth.

On average, the moon is about 238,900 miles away from Earth but during a supermoon it is much closer.

Rare supermoon
(Victoria Jones/PA)

“The supermoons are a great opportunity for people to start looking at the Moon, not just that once but every chance they have,” said Noah Petro, a research scientist from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre.

Part of the reason behind the differing distances is that the moon has a slightly elliptical orbit – it does not move around the Earth in a perfect circle.

At some points it is about 5% closer to Earth than average, known as perigee, and at others it is 5% further away, known as apogee. There’s a range of about 30,000 miles between the two points.

On January 1, the full moon comes only 4.5 hours after the moon reaches lunar perigee.

A supermoon
(Danny Lawson/PA)

A supermoon last occurred on December 3. Then the moon was 222,761 miles from Earth.

Other supermoons in 2017 occurred on January 12 and November 3 when the moon was 226,182 miles from Earth.

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