Stubborn clouds could dim supermoon

Earth and Moon (file photo)

(NEWSCHANNEL 3) - The new year will start with stellar night sky event. The first of two supermoons, both beaming this month, will dazzle stargazers Monday night into Tuesday morning.

A supermoon happens when a full moon nearly coincides with perigee, or the moon's closest approach to Earth. This sort of celestial marriage can make the moon appear as much as 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter than normal, especially when the observer sees the moon when it's low on the horizon.

In West Michigan, the stars may not align to see Earth's glowing satellite. Stubborn clouds could steal the spotlight, sharing the celestial stage Monday through Tuesday morning. Northwest winds Monday afternoon will continue to steer frigid air over Lake Michigan, leading to occasional snow showers and clouds.

Winds will adopt a westerly component Monday evening, likely keeping clouds and a few snow flurries around west of US-131 and along the immediate Lake Shore.

By Tuesday morning, winds will be blowing out of the southwest. This will favor cloud cover mainly north of Kalamazoo. In fact, it's possible temperatures come crashing to well below zero-degrees along the Michigan/Indiana border Tuesday morning due to clearer conditions. That's what we human-meteorologists think. Computer models still hold on to clouds area-wide.

Perigee technically occurs at 4:54 p.m. Monday afternoon with the moon turning full at 9:24 p.m. Monday night, but the supermoon will look its biggest and brightest during moonrise and moonset. The supermoon will ascend in the east-northeast sky at 5:18 p.m. Monday afternoon, syncing up with sunset. The supermoon will set in the west-northwest sky at 8:28 a.m. Tuesday morning.

Severe Weather Center 3 encourages you to take a look, but acknowledges the potential for a dim supermoon due to clouds. Fortunately, the second supermoon of the month could make up for a lack-luster show this time around. It will be visible on January 30 and 31, and it's in concert with a total lunar eclipse. Since Earth will block most of the Sun's light from reaching the moon, it will radiate red.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off