This year's supermoon, the last and biggest full moon of the year and occurs about once in every 14 full moons, appeared this weekend. According to NASA, the supermoon was most visible in the sky on Sunday night and looked especially brighter and more vibrant than other full moons this year.
On Dec. 3, the moon reached its fullness as it approached the point of its path closest to Earth, making it a supermoon. NASA has announced that this weekend's full moon started becoming visible on Friday at 10:47 a.m. However, it did not look so big and close to the naked eye until the night of Sunday. Its unusual proximity to the planet made it appear much bigger — around 14 percent bigger — than when it is at its farthest point from the Earth.
The closeness of the moon to the planet also made it look 30 percent brighter. Also contributing to its brightness is the phenomenon where the Earth reaches its closest point to the sun, which is set to happen sometime in early January. According to NASA, the sunlight reaching and reflecting off the moon around this time of the year is about 7 percent more intense as the Earth nears the sun, hence its increased brightness.
Although the supermoon does not have any astronomical significance, it has always been a favorite spectacle of backyard astronomers. As a matter of fact, the term "supermoon" originates from a branch of pseudo-science called Astrology, which is known to make a deal out of pretty insignificant coincidences.
While this weekend's supermoon is 2017's one and only supermoon, 2018 will open with two supermoons. Next year, the supermoon will occur on Jan. 2 and Jan. 3, the second of which passing right through the Earth's shadow and resulting in a super blue moon eclipse.