Photo/IllutrationA small flock of cranes fly in Izumi, Kagoshima Prefecture, on the evening of Jan. 1 with the moon reaching its peak. (Yasuhide Kido)

  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion

IZUMI, Kagoshima Prefecture--The biggest "supermoon" that will be seen in 2018 is due to appear on the night of Jan. 2.

There might not be a flock of cranes flying across it, but it is still sure to impress if clouds don't rain on its parade.

A supermoon is when a full moon makes its closest approach to Earth on its elliptical orbit, giving the impression of a far larger disk.

This spectacular moon-plus-cranes photograph was taken Jan. 1 when the satellite was approaching its zenith.

The cranes were wintering on the Izumi plain, the largest such seasonal gathering for the species in Japan. Some cranes were flying to their preferred spots alone, while others flew in a flock.

It is the 21st consecutive winter that more than 10,000 cranes have taken up residence on the Izumi plain.