BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Fireworks won’t be the only night show to ring in 2018: the first supermoon of the year will appear on Jan. 1.
According to NASA, a supermoon occurs when there is a full moon at or near the point where the moon reaches perigee (the closest point in its orbit around the Earth). Astronomers say the moon will appear as much as 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter to many viewers around the world.
NASA released a statement on the first full moon of the year, nicknamed a “full wolf moon” after howling wolves:
It’s hard for our eyes to distinguish these small changes in size when the Moon is high amidst the vastness of the night sky. But any time you catch a full Moon as it rises or sets, while it’s suspended low on the horizon beaming through the silhouettes of trees or buildings, its apparent size might make you do a double-take. You almost feel as though you could reach out, grab the glowing orb, and drop it into your coffee cup. Even more so if it’s a supermoon.
If you miss the Jan. 1 supermoon, you’ll have a chance to see another on Jan. 31. NASA says that supermoon will be “extra special” as it will be a blue moon — the second full moon of a month — and it will feature a total lunar eclipse.
“The lunar eclipse on January 31 will be visible during moonset,” said Noah Petro, a planetary geologist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. “Folks in the eastern United States, where the eclipse will be partial, will have to get up in the morning to see it.”
NASA says, with the total eclipse, the Jan. 31 supermoon, will be “a royal spectacle indeed: a ‘super blue blood’ Moon.”
The first supermoon of the “trilogy” appeared on Dec. 3 and was the brightest and closest full moon since January 1948, according to Petro.