Celebrate New Year’s Day by checking out the supermoon

This photo of the moon was taken using a Nikon D810A & Takahashi Mewlon 250 telescope in Virginia on Monday, Jan. 1, 2018.  (Credit: Greg Redfern)
This photo of the full wolf supermoon was taken using a Nikon D810A & Takahashi Mewlon 250 telescope in Virginia on Monday, Jan. 1, 2018.  (Credit: Greg Redfern) (Credit: Greg Redfern )
This photo of the moon was taken using a Nikon D810A & Takahashi Mewlon 250 telescope in Virginia on Monday, Jan. 1, 2018.  (Credit: Greg Redfern)
This photo of the perigee moon was taken using a Nikon D810A & Takahashi Mewlon 250 telescope in Virginia on Monday, Jan. 1, 2018.  (Credit: Greg Redfern) (Credit: Greg Redfern )
A bronze statue of General George Washington by William Rudolf O'Donovan stands on top of the Trenton Battle Monument while silhouetted by a supermoon, Monday, Jan. 1, 2018, in Trenton, N.J. The monument commemorates the victory at the first Battle of Trenton, which occurred on Dec. 26, 1776, and is located where the artillery dominated the streets of Trenton, preventing the Hessian troops from organizing attacks. Monday's moon is the second of three consecutive supermoons. The first occurred Dec. 3, 2017, and the next will happen on Jan. 31, 2018. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
A bronze statue of General George Washington by William Rudolf O’Donovan stands on top of the Trenton Battle Monument while silhouetted by a supermoon, Monday, Jan. 1, 2018, in Trenton, N.J. Monday’s moon is the second of three consecutive supermoons. The first occurred Dec. 3, 2017, and the next will happen on Jan. 31, 2018. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (AP/Julio Cortez)
WELLS, ENGLAND - JANUARY 01:  The first full moon of 2018 rises behind festive seasonal lights on display in the High Street in Wells on January 1, 2018 in Somerset, England. Tonight's full moon, which is known by Native American tribes as the "Wolf Moon", is also a supermoon which means it coincides with the Moon's closest approach to Earth, known as the perigee. Tonights Wolf Moon is the first of two full moons in January. The second will take place on the night of January 31 and in some areas of the world this will also happen at the same time as a total lunar eclipse.  (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
The first full moon of 2018 rises behind festive seasonal lights on display in the High Street in Wells on Jan. 1, 2018 in Somerset, England. Monday’s full moon, which is known by Native American tribes as the “Wolf Moon,” is also a supermoon, which means it coincides with the moon’s closest approach to Earth, known as the perigee. This Wolf Moon is the first of two full moons in January. The second will take place on the night of Jan. 31 and, in some areas of the world, this will also happen at the same time as a total lunar eclipse. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images) (Getty Images/Matt Cardy)
The first supermoon of 2018, seen from the countryside in Montemayor near of Cordoba, southern Spain, Monday, Jan. 1, 2018. A "supermoon" occurs when the moon appears bigger and brighter in the sky. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
The first supermoon of 2018, seen from the countryside in Montemayor, near Cordoba, southern Spain, Monday, Jan. 1, 2018. A “supermoon” occurs when the moon appears bigger and brighter in the sky. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez) (AP/Manu Fernandez)
The moon appears from the sky in the first supermoon of 2018 as seen from suburban Makati city east of Manila, Philippines on Monday, Jan. 1, 2018. Another "Super Blood Blue Moon" is expected also later this month which according to scientists will coincide with a Total Lunar Eclipse. A "supermoon" occurs when the moon appears bigger and brighter in the sky. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
The moon appears from the sky in the first supermoon of 2018 as seen from suburban Makati city east of Manila, Philippines on Monday, Jan. 1, 2018. Another “Super Blood Blue Moon” is expected also later this month, which, according to scientists, will coincide with a Total Lunar Eclipse. A “supermoon” occurs when the moon appears bigger and brighter in the sky. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez) (AP/Bullit Marquez)
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 3: In this handout provided by NASA, an aircraft taking off from Ronald Reagan National Airport is seen passing in front of the moon as it rises on December 3, 2017 in Washington, DC.  Today's full Moon is the first of three consecutive supermoons. The two will occur on Jan. 1 and Jan. 31, 2018. A supermoon occurs when the moon's orbit is closest (perigee) to Earth at the same time it is full. (Photo by NASA/Bill Ingalls via Getty Images)
In this handout provided by NASA, an aircraft taking off from Reagan National Airport is seen passing in front of the moon as it rises on Dec. 3, 2017 in Washington, D.C. December’s full moon was the first of three consecutive supermoons. The two others will occur on Jan. 1 and Jan. 31, 2018. A supermoon occurs when the moon’s orbit is closest (perigee) to Earth at the same time it is full. (Photo by NASA/Bill Ingalls via Getty Images) (Getty Images/Bill Ingalls/NASA)
December's Full Cold Supermoon as seen at sea in the Atlantic. (WTOP/Greg Redfern)
December’s Full Cold Supermoon as seen at sea in the Atlantic. (WTOP/Greg Redfern) (WTOP/Greg Redfern)
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This photo of the moon was taken using a Nikon D810A & Takahashi Mewlon 250 telescope in Virginia on Monday, Jan. 1, 2018.  (Credit: Greg Redfern)
This photo of the moon was taken using a Nikon D810A & Takahashi Mewlon 250 telescope in Virginia on Monday, Jan. 1, 2018.  (Credit: Greg Redfern)
A bronze statue of General George Washington by William Rudolf O'Donovan stands on top of the Trenton Battle Monument while silhouetted by a supermoon, Monday, Jan. 1, 2018, in Trenton, N.J. The monument commemorates the victory at the first Battle of Trenton, which occurred on Dec. 26, 1776, and is located where the artillery dominated the streets of Trenton, preventing the Hessian troops from organizing attacks. Monday's moon is the second of three consecutive supermoons. The first occurred Dec. 3, 2017, and the next will happen on Jan. 31, 2018. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
WELLS, ENGLAND - JANUARY 01:  The first full moon of 2018 rises behind festive seasonal lights on display in the High Street in Wells on January 1, 2018 in Somerset, England. Tonight's full moon, which is known by Native American tribes as the "Wolf Moon", is also a supermoon which means it coincides with the Moon's closest approach to Earth, known as the perigee. Tonights Wolf Moon is the first of two full moons in January. The second will take place on the night of January 31 and in some areas of the world this will also happen at the same time as a total lunar eclipse.  (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
The first supermoon of 2018, seen from the countryside in Montemayor near of Cordoba, southern Spain, Monday, Jan. 1, 2018. A "supermoon" occurs when the moon appears bigger and brighter in the sky. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
The moon appears from the sky in the first supermoon of 2018 as seen from suburban Makati city east of Manila, Philippines on Monday, Jan. 1, 2018. Another "Super Blood Blue Moon" is expected also later this month which according to scientists will coincide with a Total Lunar Eclipse. A "supermoon" occurs when the moon appears bigger and brighter in the sky. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 3: In this handout provided by NASA, an aircraft taking off from Ronald Reagan National Airport is seen passing in front of the moon as it rises on December 3, 2017 in Washington, DC.  Today's full Moon is the first of three consecutive supermoons. The two will occur on Jan. 1 and Jan. 31, 2018. A supermoon occurs when the moon's orbit is closest (perigee) to Earth at the same time it is full. (Photo by NASA/Bill Ingalls via Getty Images)
December's Full Cold Supermoon as seen at sea in the Atlantic. (WTOP/Greg Redfern)

WASHINGTON — As the new year begins, cold temperatures and clear skies mark the D.C. area. Stealing the show for the first sunset of 2018 is the rising full wolf supermoon, which occurs at about 5 p.m. Monday.

This will be the largest and brightest full moon for the entire year as it will be only four hours from its closest approach to Earth for all of 2018. To experienced moon watchers, the moon may appear brighter and a bit larger than other full moons.

The moon will be at full phase (directly opposite the sun) at 9:24 p.m. EST and at perigee as it is rising (closest to the Earth for the month) at 5 p.m. EST — less than 24 hours apart, hence the Supermoon.

This time of year will also make this supermoon brighter, as explained by NASA, “because the Earth will be at its closest to the sun (called perihelion) in early January (Jan. 3 at 1 a.m. EST), the sunlight reaching and reflecting off the moon this time of year is about 7 percent more intense (than at the farthest point from the sun, aphelion, in early July), making wintertime supermoons even brighter.”

Go out the night of Dec. 31, 2017 and enjoy the almost full wolf supermoon. Another supermoon arrives in January 2018 — and the second being a blue moon — that will also undergo a total lunar eclipse. For the D.C. area, it will only be a partial lunar eclipse before sunrise.

Oh, and when looking at the moon, wink at it in remembrance of Neil Armstrong — first human to walk on the moon.

Follow Greg on Twitter @skyguyinva and his daily blog to keep up with the latest news in astronomy and space exploration. Email him at skyguyinva@gmail.com.

This article was first published on Dec. 31, 2017. It was updated Jan. 1, 2018 with the latest photos. 


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