February's Supermoon could be year's biggest and brightest

A Super Blood Moon is seen during a total lunar eclipse in Los Angeles California

We get a supermoon when the moon is full or almost full and also at its closest point to Earth along its slightly elliptical orbit. On average, the distance is about 382,900 kilometers (238,000 miles). While it won't be at its fullest, you can catch the jaw-dropping sights starting on Sunday, February 17.

Native Americans and Europeans gave February the "snow moon" title because it was the month associated with heavy snowfall, according to The Old Farmer's Almanac. This means the Moon is deeper inside the umbra shadow and therefore may appear darker.

Each month's full moon goes by a nickname; some full moons have several alternate names.

Moonrise will be the best time for those interested in capturing dramatic supermoon photos because the moon will be closest to the horizon.

When is the next full moon?

February 19's full moon is the second lunar spectacle in a supermoon trilogy.

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The Moon's orbit around Earth is not a ideal circle, but elliptical, with one side closer to Earth than the other. The farthest point of the ellipse is called the apogee.

We won't be able to see a larger moon until December 2026, so make sure you don't miss it. When this happens, the moon appears larger and brighter in the sky. If that happens, there's still the third and final supermoon of 2019, which comes in exactly four weeks on March 19.

The moniker "supermoon" isn't scientific; it was introduced in 1979 by the astrologer Richard Nolle and is now used in pop culture to describe a moon that is brighter than usual, according to NASA.

While there is no strict definition, this distance can be roughly less than 360,000km from the centre of the Earth.

"The Moon will look extremely large when it rises and sets", NASA astronomer Mitzi Adams wrote in a blog for NASA on Friday.

Earlier this year, a super wolf blood moon appeared in the sky over Ireland - though, for many, it was obscured by cloud cover.

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