Third and final Supermoon to round out 2016 this week
Depending on the weather in your particular neck of the woods, 2016 has been a terrific year for moon watching, with last month's November "mega beaver supermoon" being the closest look we'll get at our nearest neighbour until 2034. But the show isn't over yet. Wednesday's supermoon will be just 1 percent smaller, a difference that will be impossible to distinguish by the naked eye, so if you missed the experience in November, cast your gaze skywards on Wednesday and enjoy the final supermoon of 2016.
A supermoon, or perigree full moon, can be up to 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter than an apogee full moon – the moon's orbit is elliptical, and at the perigree it's about 30,000 mi (48,000 km) closer to Earth than at its apogee. Tonight, it makes a close pass right as the sun lines up behind the Earth to give it maximum brightness as well as increased size. It should be a beauty and is best viewed as the moon is rising.
If you've been enjoying the Geminid meteor shower, there's a bit of bad news – the supermoon tonight will likely be so bright that it'll make those meteors harder to see. NASA estimates you'll be lucky to see a dozen geminids per hour in the peak of it. Smaller fragments will just not be visible.
If you're going to take photos, check out our guide to supermoon photography.