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Tonight will see the year’s brightest ‘supermoon’

This evening (Sunday) will see the “brightest and biggest moon of the year” in the Northern Hemisphere, with the planet Venus also visible ahead of Mars, Jupiter and Mercury later in the month.

Early December sees the so-called “supermoon” rise high in the sky, as our Moon’s elliptical-shaped orbit comes closest to the Earth.

This makes the Moon appear as a “glowing lamp”, appearing to reflect light and illuminate the sky much more brightly than usual, explains Autour du Ciel, the night sky blog from French newspaper Le Monde.

Tonight - around 1h00 GMT+1 on December 3 - will see the brightest moon of the year, as the winter solstice approaches, thanks to the moon’s orbit patterns.

The planet Venus will also be more visible than normal, especially around 40 minutes before sunrise, when it will appear as a small, golden globe on a west-northwest-facing horizon.

As December continues, Jupiter will also appear more visible, especially on a south-east-facing horizon, around 60 minutes before sunrise, as will Mars - the latter of which appears higher in the sky.

Throughout the month, Mars will appear to get closer to Jupiter, and, just before Christmas, the smallest planet - Mercury - will take Venus’ place on the horizon.

Further ‘supermoons’ are expected on 1 January and 31 January.

Last year the Moon came closer to Earth than at any point since 1948, and its orbit means it will not come as close as that again until November 2034.

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