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First supermoon of 2020 is coming this weekend

Set up those telescopes, you've got all weekend to marvel at the snow moon.

Gael Fashingbauer Cooper
CNET freelancer Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
Gael Fashingbauer Cooper

A brilliant full moon rises above NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida in 2017.

NASA/Kim Shiflett

Get ready for the first supermoon

of 2020. According to NASA, the moon will be completely full on Sunday, Feb. 9 at 2:33 a.m. ET, but will appear full all weekend, from about Friday evening to Monday morning. Because it's in February, this particular supermoon is also called the snow moon. Other names for it include the storm moon, hunger moon, and Chinese Lantern Festival moon.

The term "supermoon" was coined in 1979 to describe what occurs when the moon's orbit is closest to Earth at the same time the moon is full. Such moons appear slightly brighter and larger than a standard full moon, which makes them favorites of photographers and night-sky gazers.

The next full moon will also be a supermoon, and will occur in a month, on March 9. 

Just over a year ago, the brightest supermoon of 2019 shone in the sky. Last September saw a rare moon that wasn't a supermoon but made headlines for being a nationwide full moon that was visible on the spooky date of Friday the 13th.

The best astronomy photos of the year will leave you star-struck

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