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On Sunday evening, the moon will appear 14 per cent larger and 30 per cent brighter than normal, as it is at its closest point to Earth.

Last year's supermoon was the closest the moon was to Earth since 1948 and it's not expected to be that close again until 2034. Be on the lookout on January 2 and January 31 of the New Year for more big, attractive moons.

But for those who can't wake up that early, the moon will still look bigger - and brighter - throughout the night. The orbit of the moon is an elliptical; there are times in the moon's orbit where it is closer to the Earth, and other times when it is farther away.

The moon will be visible from Earth with the naked eye, just as it always is.

This Sunday the moon will be about 222,272 miles from the Earth. "The difference in distance between these close and far points can be as much as about 30,000 miles".

The phenomenon occurs at the point in the lunar cycle when the moon is closest to the Earth, and the position of the moon to the Earth and the sun means it can be most clearly seen.

A supermoon is not all that super. The scientific term is "perigee syzygy".

Have you ever glimpsed a supermoon without realizing what it was?

This optical illusion also occurs when watching the supermoon immediately after sunset (or before sunrise).

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The moon will become totally full at 15:47 GMT (10:47 EST), but will reach its peak brightness and size on Monday morning.

The supermoon will appear in the Qatar sky on Sunday, Qatar Calendar House (QCH) has said.

It takes the Moon just slightly over 27 days to fully orbit the Earth, and during this time the natural satellite reaches both its apogee and perigee.

When these two moments match up, this forms a supermoon.

Bill Ingalls, a NASA photographer, says that those capturing the event through their smartphones have to focus on the correct light balance.

"Often I find when the moon is near the horizon I have a better chance of incorporating it with a landmark or person, but there are no rules and sometimes a tall object such as the Washington Monument here in D.C. can be used when the moon is at a very high angle".

An unprecedented display of astronomical showmanship will light up the night sky this weekend when the supermoon approaches Earth.

Many assume it's hard to differentiate between a supermoon and a regular full moon.


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