Supermoon kicks off 2018

Tuesday, January 2, 2018
Photos by Dave Petrick

The second in a series of three supermoons made the beginning of 2018 a little more special. A supermoon occurs when the moon is full at the same time it reaches perigee the point in the moon's orbit when it is closest to Earth. A supermoon generally appears about 14 percent larger and 30 percent brighter than a full moon at apogee when the moon is farthest from the Earth according to NASA. The moon became full at precisely 8:24 p.m. Central Standard Time on Monday, according to EarthSky.org. January full moons are also known as "wolf moons." The New Year's Day supermoon followed one that occurred Dec. 3. A third supermoon will happen Jan. 31. The series is unusual, given that there generally are only four to six supermoons per year. The Jan. 31 supermoon will also be referred to as a blue moon because it will be the second full moon of the month. Oddly enough, the blue moon will appear ruddy red for part of the night because of a total lunar eclipse when the moon passes through the Earth's shadow. In North America, the eclipse will happen in the morning hours before sunrise, according to EarthSky.org.