Mark Your Calendar for the 1st Full 'Supermoon' of 2017

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While I lived here, I witnessed some of the most incredible moon rises I've ever seen in my life, and each month I was completely moonstruck while watching these otherworldly full moon ascensions. But the supermoon is substantially brighter than an ordinary full moon. In fact, it's the only Super Moon we've had this year.

A supermoon is defined as a full moon that occurs when the moon is within 90% of its closest distance to earth. The moon will approach earth at a minimum distance for 2017 - 357 495 km. This occurs on December 4.

Native Americans dubbed December's full moon the Full Cold Moon because it signals the beginning of winter when cold weather fastens its grip on much of the country until spring. The January 31 supermoon will feature a total lunar eclipse, with totality visible from western North America across the pacific to Eastern Asia, NASA said.

Like every full moon, this one is opposite the sun from Earth.

Locally, the moon will be impressive right when it rises on December 3 at 5:09 p.m. MT, according to University of Colorado's Sommers-Bausch Observatory and Fiske Planetarium. The distance between the Moon and Earth varies due to the elliptical orbit of the Moon around Earth. The brightest moon in nearly 69 years is lighting up the sky in a treat for star watchers around the globe. This big bright moon will block out most of the stars, but you should be able to see Aldebaran to its lower left and the Pleiades star cluster to its upper left.

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To get the best light balance of the moon on iPhones and other smartphones, he says you can "tap the screen and hold your finger on the object (in this case, the moon) to lock the focus". Saturn and Mercury have dipped into the Sun's glow and are no longer visible.

"One reason why the horizon might appear more distant than the sky overhead is that our brains perceive the shape of "space" as a gently flattened dome rather than a perfectly round sphere", Drake wrote. So the bright planet you now see is Jupiter.

"The supermoon gets headlines because the moon's a little bigger and a little brighter, but people get frustrated that they can't always tell the difference".

Winterfest is coming up on Friday and Saturday Dec. 8 and 9 from 10 a.m. -4 p.m.at the Rio Grande Club here in South Fork.

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