How to watch the only visible "supermoon" of 2017 this weekend

A supermoon peeking through the clouds in 2016 near Grand Rapids. MLive file art

But this year's supermoon will still appear 7% bigger and 16% brighter than the average full moon.

The year's only visible supermoon (or perigee-syzygy, if you prefer the technical term) happens on December 3, meaning the Moon, which traces an elliptical orbit around the Earth, will come as close to us as it gets. (The point at which the moon is closest to Earth is known as the perigee.) Basically, what that means is it will look like the moon is particularly large and bright to viewers of the nightsky. However, the moon will still appear plenty big when it rises in the eastern sky Sunday evening.

"Nevertheless, the "moon illusion" can be a dramatic effect, and with the moon rising so early, there will be ample opportunities to see its apparently huge face juxtaposed with the eastern skyline".

The moon's average distance from the Earth is approximately 238,000 miles.

"The moon's orbit is not a ideal circle".

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The first supermoon of the year was visible on January 12, and the second was on November 3.

According to Michelle Nichols, director of public observing at Chicago's Adler Planetarium, there is a reason behind the moon's captivating close approach to the Earth.

The good news is you can still see the (mostly - 99 percent) full moon Saturday and Monday. The moon should sit near the constellation Taurus, though it shouldn't be hard to spot.

Do I need special glasses to watch the supermoon?

When the moon is both full and closest to us, we get a big, bright supermoon.

To take a picture of the supermoon with a smartphone, tap on the moon on the screen and hold your finger in place to lock the camera's focus. "Still, it's a great excuse to just go out and look at the sky", says Nichols. "Then slide your finger up or down to darken or lighten the exposure". Especially if you get something in the foreground when taking photos.

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