The First Supermoon of 2018 Arrives on New Year's Day

Terry Joseph
December 30, 2017

The full moon that occurs at this time in the year is nicknamed the Frost Moon due to Native American traditions or the Moon Before Yule as it is the last full moon of the season. On New Year's Day, we'll also see the first supermoon of 2018.

But that's not the only label of January 31's moon - that full moon also happens to be the second full moon of the month, an event that is often referred to as a "blue moon". The big event is coming on January 31, when another supermoon is set to light up the sky - making it, as some have pointed out, a "blue supermoon".

It's called the wolf moon, because at this time of year hungry wolf packs would howl outside Native American villages during the chilly peak of winter, according to the Farmer's Almanac.

A supermoon is the term given to full moons which occur at the same time as the moon reaches its closest point to Earth in orbit.

The difference between a supermoon and a regular full moon isn't always easy to tell - though if you could put a supermoon next to a micromoon, a full moon that occurs when our satellite is at the part of its orbit furthest from Earth, you'd see the difference. The flawless time to encounter the Full Moon Supermoon is after moonrise when it is just above the skyline.

January's supermoons will be just the latest in a spate of supermoon events taking place in close succession. The final installment of the supermoon series will kick off on January 31, which will be "extra special", NASA says.

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Blue Moons aren't unique as they happen around once every 2.7 years because the number of days in a new moon to new moon is a bit less than the usual calendar month.

The first day of 2018 will be greeted with a supermoon in the night sky.

"About twice each year, a full Moon lines up perfectly with the Earth and Sun such that Earth's shadow totally blocks the Sun's light, which would normally reflect off the Moon", NASA said.

As NASA explains it: "The Moon will lose its brightness and take on an eerie, fainter-than-normal glow from the scant sunlight that makes its way through Earth's atmosphere".

Viewers on the eastern side of the United States will be able to view a partial lunar eclipse during moonset on the morning of February 1.

"The supermoons are a great opportunity for people to start looking at the Moon, not just that once but every chance they have!"

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