The only supermoon of 2017 is coming to a night sky near you.
Sunday Dec. 3 is the only time this year that we’ll have a supermoon that is visible to the naked eye. The moon will actually be at its closest point to Earth at 4 a.m. ET on the morning of Dec. 4, but the best time to view it will be just after sunset on Sunday evening, when the ‘moon illusion’ will make it easier to see the difference.
Dec. 3 kicks off a three-cycle streak of the celestial phenomenon. The full moons on Jan. 2 and 31, 2018, will also be supermoons. The phenomenon is technically called perigee syzygy and occurs when the moon is at the closest point in its Earth orbit at the same time as the Earth, moon, and sun are aligned, creating a full moon.
While the year has been short on supermoons, there has been no dearth of celestial phenomena to observe, from the summer’s solar eclipse to the Andromeda Galaxy and even the more predictable annual Orionid meteor shower, it’s been a banner year.
But if your skies are cloudy or you miss the sunset, don’t worry: you can watch the supermoon on the Virtual Telescope Project, which will provide real-time images of the moon rising over Rome from 16:00 UT (11 a.m. ET). And honestly, wherever you’re watching from probably can’t beat that.