Dubai: Stargazers in the UAE were in for a treat on Sunday night as they caught a glimpse of the "supermoon", a phenomenon that occurs when the Moon appears bigger and brighter in the sky as it moves closer to Earth.
Also called a Cold Moon, Moon Before Yule, or Long Night Moon, this is the first and only super moon of the year.
What is a supermoon?
The astrologer Richard Nolle, who is credited with coining the term, defines a super moon as a new or full moon which occurs with the moon at or near (within 90 per cent of) its closest approach to Earth in a given orbit.
Basically, the moon will look the largest and closest you might have ever seen it. This happens because the moon's orbit around the earth is elliptical, having both nearest and farthest points of orbit distance from the earth.
When is this happening?
December 3 has been pegged as the day the supermoon will rise, when the moon gets as close as it could to the earth in its orbit. It comes close enough to Earth (222,443 miles or 357,987 km) to enjoy super moon status.
A full Moon began early this morning appearing "opposite" the Sun (in Earth-based longitude) at 1:23 AM EDT. Don't be sad if you missed a viewing, it will continue to appear full tonight (making it a full Moon weekend!) This is the Hunter's Moon, the full Moon after the Harvest Moon. According to the Farmer's Almanac, with the leaves falling and the deer fattened, it is time to hunt. Since the harvesters have reaped the fields, hunters can easily see the animals that have come out to glean (and the foxes that have come out to prey on them). The earliest use of the term "Hunter's Moon" cited in the Oxford English Dictionary is from 1710. Happy #spaceSaturday folks, have a wonderful weekend! Credit: NASA #nasa #moon #fullmoon #supermoon
This is the only time that the moon will have gotten this close in 2017, but this phenomenon is expected to be repeated twice in January 2018.
In 2016, the Moon made its closest approach to Earth since 1948. It won't be that close again until November 25, 2034.