How to Watch August’s Two Supermoons
Some long summer nights are accompanied by an enormous, magical-looking moon rising slowly over the horizon. This August we will be treated to two supermoons, and the second will be a blue moon.
According to NASA, a supermoon is when the moon is full at the same time its orbit is closest to Earth, while a monthly blue moon is the second full moon in a calendar month. A blue supermoon like the one we’ll be treated to on August 30 is a rare occurrence, so try and catch it, as there won’t be another until 2032.
“Warm summer nights are the ideal time to watch the full moon rise in the eastern sky within minutes of sunset. And it happens twice in August,” said retired NASA astrophysicist Fred Espenak, as The Associated Press reported.
A supermoon is about 16 percent brighter than an average full moon because its disk size is as much as eight percent bigger, reported The Old Farmer’s Almanac.
The peak brightness of the August 1 full moon will occur at 2:32 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, but after sunset look toward the southeast to watch the rising of what is referred to as the Sturgeon Moon.
“August’s full Moon was traditionally called the Sturgeon Moon because the giant sturgeon of the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain were most readily caught during this part of summer,” said The Old Farmer’s Almanac website.
The Sturgeon Moon this year will be just 222,159 miles from Earth.
“Over the nights following 1 August, the Moon will rise around an hour later each day, becoming prominent later in the night. Within a few days, it will only be visible in the pre-dawn and early-morning sky. By the time it reaches last quarter, a week after full moon, it will rise in the middle of the night and set at around noon,” according to In-The-Sky.org.
The August 30 Blue Moon will be even closer at 222,043 miles away — the closest all year — with peak illumination at 9:36 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.
Italian astronomer Gianluca Masi, who founded The Virtual Telescope Project, said two full supermoons haven’t occurred in the same month since 2018, and it won’t happen again until 2027, The Guardian reported.
Masi’s The Virtual Telescope Project 2.0 will offer a live webcast of the August 1 supermoon rising over the Roman Coliseum.
“My plans are to capture the beauty of this… hopefully bringing the emotion of the show to our viewers,” Masi said, as reported by The Associated Press. “The supermoon offers us a great opportunity to look up and discover the sky.”