Supermoon To Shine Over Idaho Sunday

Dec 1, 2017

The Moon, or supermoon, is seen rising behind the Soyuz rocket at the Baikonur Cosmodrome launch pad in Kazakhstan, Monday, Nov. 14, 2016.
Credit Bill Ingalls / NASA

This Sunday, Idahoans will be treated to a bigger, brighter moon in the evening sky. It's called a supermoon and it only happens once this year.

Here's how a supermoon works, according to Brian Jackson, physics professor at Boise State University:

“A supermoon occurs when the moon is full and it is at its closest point in its orbit to the Earth, which is called perigee,” says Jackson.

He says the moon’s path around the Earth is oval-shaped, or elliptical. That means sometimes it’s closer to the planet and sometimes farther away. Jackson says when it comes this close, you’ll notice the difference.

“When the moon is closer to the Earth, all other things being equal, it’s going to be brighter, because when things are closer they often are brighter, about 10 percent brighter than a normal full moon,” Jackson says.

If it's not cloudy, you can see the supermoon on Sunday afternoon and evening in Idaho. And the moon will be a little brighter a day or two before and after the main event. Jackson and the Physics Department at Boise State will have telescopes up Friday to let you get a closer look at the moon. There will also be a talk about looking for water on Mars, the moon and asteroids.

Here's a cool look at a supermoon from NASA in November of 2016 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The supermoon, rises above the launch pad at Launch Complex 1 Nov. 14, where the Soyuz MS-03 spacecraft stands poised to liftoff following its transport to the pad for final pre-launch preparations:

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