The wait is over. The first and only visible supermoon of 2017 is set to adorn the night sky Sunday.
December’s full moon, dubbed the Full Cold Moon, will appear up to 30 percent brighter and up to 14 percent larger than normal as the celestial body makes its closest pass to the Earth, according to Space.com.
The moon will be completely full Sunday at 10:46 a.m. EST and reach its perigee, or closest point to Earth at 222,135 miles, 3:45 a.m. EST Monday.
While the forecast could change in the coming days, weather.com meteorologist Chris Dolce says parts of the Southeast coast, including Florida, appear to have the highest odds for clear skies on Sunday.
“Portions of the Northeast and mid-Atlantic may also have good viewing conditions, but that will depend on how quickly a weather system moving through departs those regions this weekend,” he said, adding that there will be cloud cover in parts of the central and western states as a frontal system pushes through.
“It’s too early to pinpoint areas that will have the best viewing conditions since it will depend on the evolution of that weather system and how fast it moves east,” Dolce noted.
One of the best times to catch any full moon is just before it rises or sets when a phenomenon called the “moon illusion” makes the moon and other celestial bodies appear larger than normal on the horizon. The explanation for this optical illusion is still being debated, but many scientists believe it has something to do with how our brain processes the objects in our visual field near the horizon, according to Sky and Telescope.
National Geographic notes the Full Cold Moon will be the fourth supermoon of 2017, but because the others coincided with the new moon, they were imperceptible to observers.
If weather hampers your view of December’s supermoon, don’t worry. Sunday’s supermoon is the first of a trio of supermoons on the way. In fact, there will be not one but two supermoons, the Wolf Moon and the Blue Moon, in January, according to Earthsky.