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Where to see the supermoons coming in January

Dec 30, 2017 08:40AM ● Published by Editor

By Kerri Westenberg - The Star Tribune - December 30, 2017

During a ride to a restaurant in early December, my friend pointed to the east. "Wow, look at the moon," she said.

Hovering just above the horizon, it looked eerily huge, like it was moving ever closer and maybe wanted to come to dinner with us.

The next morning, I saw a story in this newspaper that explained it: We had seen a so-called supermoon, a relatively rare event when the moon is full and also the nearest to Earth in its oval orbit. I also learned this: Two more are coming in January.

Chilly January is one of the darkest months — and this year, that's a good thing. The night sky will be primed to show the moon shining brighter and looking larger.

This supermoon phenomenon will occur Jan. 2 and 31. The second occurrence will be a "blue moon," so-called not because it shines with a blue hue, but because two supermoons in one month is so rare.

During my December sighting, I saw the moon between city buildings.

Just imagine the beauty of seeing it through a forest of trees, I thought. Ely or Grand Marais, Minn., would make for a grand view.

I could also picture it rising, breathtakingly, over the prairie: Hello, Pipestone.

These destinations also have the added benefit of purer darkness, with fewer city lights to obscure the night sky.

Those pesky lights — so essential to city residents — have been raising concern for wildlife, not to mention stargazers. In our well-lit world, the majority of North America's population cannot see the Milky Way.

Recognizing that northern Minnesota has a unique asset, marketers in Cook County (home to Grand Marais) have started billing their destination as a haven of dark sky.

All the better to see a supermoon, or two.

No matter where you are at the start and close of next month, be sure to look to the sky for those giant moons.

Send your questions or tips to Travel Editor Kerri Westenberg at travel@startribune.com, and follow her on Twitter: @kerriwestenberg.

As a travel writer and editor, Kerri Westenberg focuses on destinations and consumer travel issues. She has worked at Bon Appetit, Cooking Light and National Geographic and has written for those magazines and others, including National Geographic Traveler and Real Simple. 


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