You Can Howl at the First Supermoon of 2018 on New Year's Day

Friday, 29 December 2017 - 11:01AM
Friday, 29 December 2017 - 11:01AM
You Can Howl at the First Supermoon of 2018 on New Year's Day
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Image credit: Pixabay
If you're reading this, you deserve a pat on the back because 2017 has not been the easiest or most enjoyable year to get through. Lucky for all of us, 2018 is finally here, and what better way to ring in the new year than with a bright supermoon lighting shining down on your face.

According to NASA, the first supermoon of 2018—which is being called a "wolf moon"—will appear on January 1. It is the second of a winter supermoon trilogy that began on December 3. The third is scheduled to appear on January 31.

"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 at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland. 


Space station supermoon. This composite image made from six frames shows the International Space Station (@iss), with a crew of six onboard, as it transits the Moon at roughly five miles per second on Dec. 2. The microgravity laboratory orbits our planet at 17,500 mph and is home to important science and research that will not only benefit life here on Earth, but will help us venture deeper into the solar system than ever before. This Moon also happens to be a supermoon, which is when a full Moon is also at or near its closest point in its orbit around Earth. Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky #nasa #space #spacestation #internationalspacestation #moon #planets #solarsystem #transit #microgravity #science

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The first supermoon of the year is often referred to as the "Full Wolf Moon," but there is some debate on whether the term came from Native American tribes or if it is Anglo-Saxon in origin.

The Farmer's Almanac says that the best time to view the luminous orb is at 9:24 P.M. ET.

There is an online Moon Phase Calendar that allows users to enter their city and state for a more accurate timetable, so you may want to double check that before heading out on Monday night. 

Supermoons appear 14-30 percent brighter than normal full moons. That's because they appear during the Moon's perigee, a point in its elliptical orbit that is 30,000 closer to Earth than its apogee. 

If for some reason (hangover) you miss the Full Wolf Moon on New Year's Day, don't worry, because the one that appears on January 31 will also feature a total lunar eclipse.

"The lunar eclipse on January 31 will be visible during moonset," said Petro. "Folks in the Eastern United States, where the eclipse will be partial, will have to get up in the morning to see it. But it's another great chance to watch the Moon."