First Supermoon Of 2018 Happens On New Year's Day
- Author: Eleanor Harrison Dec 30, 2017,
Dec 30, 2017, 0:42
The New Year's Eve fireworks won't be the only show in the sky this year. It'll be the first of 2018 and it will be closely followed by another just weeks later.
Each full moon of the year has been given various names by different cultures around the world.
The new year will be off to a celestial start with the appearance of a bigger and brighter supermoon - this time nicknamed the "wolf moon". A supermoon occurs when the moon becomes full on the same day that it reaches its perigree, the point in the moon's elliptical orbit when it is closest to Earth. Then, the moon will be just 223,068 miles from Earth, compared to its average distance of 238,855 miles. As an example, Space.com explained that in Melbourne, Australia, the first full moon comes on January 2 at 1:24 p.m. local time. The big event is coming on January 31, when another supermoon is set to light up the sky - making it, as some have pointed out, a "blue supermoon".
The first month of 2018 is certain to delight moon lovers. The final installment of the supermoon series will kick off on January 31, which will be "extra special", NASA says.
It's almost impossible to compare the apparent size of the supermoon with a micromoon from memory, but when seen side-by-side as in this graphic, it becomes clear. Blue moons happen about every two and half years.
Skywatchers in Western North America and Eastern Asia will also be able to catch a total lunar eclipse that evening, as the moon passes into the Earth's shadow.
Supermoons occur due to the fact that the moon is in a slightly elliptical orbit with Earth, rather than a ideal circle.
The eclipse of the moon will happen the evening of January 31 or the morning of February 1.
And these occasions all serve to remind us of one good thing, according to Petro. "Will have to get up in the morning to see it, but it's another great chance to watch the Moon".