What is a supermoon and why was it visible in the sky last night?

PUBLISHED: 11:36 04 December 2017 | UPDATED: 11:36 04 December 2017

Did you see the supermoon? Picture: AP PHOTO/ARIEL SCHALIT

Did you see the supermoon? Picture: AP PHOTO/ARIEL SCHALIT

If you looked up at the sky last night you would have seen the moon 14% bigger and 30% brighter than normal.

Yesterday was the last supermoon of 2017. Picture: OWEN  HUMPHREYS/PA WIREYesterday was the last supermoon of 2017. Picture: OWEN HUMPHREYS/PA WIRE

The supermoon phenomenon occurs when the moon reaches its closest point to the Earth.

The moon also needs to be full which happens once every 29.5 days, when the sun fully illuminates the moon.

The moon was full at 3.47pm yesterday, at this point it was 222,761 miles from Earth – closer than the average distance of 238,900 miles.

Supermoons only happen a few times a year at most, because the moon’s orbit changes orientation while the Earth orbits the sun.

Send us your pictures of the supermoon. Picture: DANNY LAWSON/PA WIRESend us your pictures of the supermoon. Picture: DANNY LAWSON/PA WIRE

The supermoon yesterday was the third one of 2017, there was also one on January 12 and November 3.

Last year the moon made its closest approach to the Earth since 1948, and it won’t be this close again until November 25, 2034.

Did you take any pictures of the supermoon last night? If so we would love to see them - email them here.


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