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The December full moon will approach the planet this weekend for the very first and unfortunately last supermoon event of the year.
The spectacular rare sighting will see the full moon swell up to 14 per cent in size and grow brighter by as much as 30 per cent.
The supermoon will rise this Sunday in the dark afternoon hours, making its path cross the night sky, before it sets on Monday morning.
This year’s approach is particularly special since it has not happened since November 14 2016.
When is the supermoon in your area?
December’s super-sized full moon will begin to rise above the horizon in the afternoon to evening hours when the skies are already dark.
Those paying close attention to the horizon will be tricked into seeing a particularly large moon, but this is due to an effect known as the “moon illusion”.
In the UK, the moonrise on Sunday will start just after 4pm. In London it will rise at 4.21pm, in Edinburgh it will rise at 4.15pm and in Cardiff it will rise at 4.33pm.
Stargazers in the US, will get to see the moon rise on the East Coast at 4.59pm ET in New York. On the West Coast, the moon will begin to appear just around 5.17pm PT.
The 2017 supermoon is the first and last lunar approach of the year
In India, observers in Delhi will see the moonrise just after 6.22pm local time and 5.59pm local time in Mumbai.
Below the equator, South Africa will see the full moon rise over Pretoria at 6.38pm local time.
Meanwhile in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, it will rise much later at 7.32pm local time.
Find out when the supermoon rises in your area, by checking your local moonrise and moonset times.
If you miss out on the supermoon this Sunday, the good news is the moon will still appear to be much larger over the following few days.
Noah Petro, Nasa’s deputy scientist of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, said: “The difference in distance from one night to the next will be very subtle, so if it’s cloudy on Sunday, go out on Monday.
“Any time after sunset should be fine. Since the moon is full, it’ll rise at nearly the same time as sunset, so I’d suggest that you head outside after sunset, or once it’s dark and the moon is a bit higher in the sky.
“You don’t have to stay up all night to see it, unless you really want to!”
Two more supermoons are also scheduled to appear next year in January and February.
The December full moon will reach its supermoon perigee on December 3
What is the supermoon?
The supermoon is a rare event during which the moon comes very close to Earth.
When the supermoon rose last year in November it made its closest approach in 69 years, but this unfortunately will not happen again until 2034.
The dazzling phenomenon is caused by the Moon’s elliptical orbit. At different times throughout the year, the Moon comes closer and farther away from Earth.
Lyle Tavernier from Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Lab said: “The Moon doesn’t orbit in a perfect circle. Instead, it travels in an ellipse that brings the Moon closer to and farther from Earth in its orbit.
“The farthest point in this ellipse is called the apogee and is about 405,500 km from Earth on average.
“Its closest point is the perigee, which is an average distance of about 363,300 km from Earth.”
A supermoon event takes place whenever a Moon reaches about 90 per cent of its perigee.