In August, the universe presents a double feature: two supermoons followed by a rare blue moon. The full moon will emerge in the southeast on Tuesday evening, appearing slightly brighter and larger than usual. This is because the moon will be closer than usual, at just 222,159 miles (354,530 kilometers) distant, hence the moniker “supermoon.”
On the evening of August 30, the moon will be just 222,043 miles (357,357 kilometers) away. Due to it being the second full moon in the same month, it will be a blue moon. The best opportunity to observe the full moon rising in the eastern sky within minutes of sunset is on a warm summer evening. Fred Espenak, a senior NASA astrophysicist known as Mr. Eclipse for his knowledge in eclipse-chasing, stated that the phenomenon occurs twice in August.
2018’s Unique Double Supermoon Event: A Spectacle Not Returning Until 2037
The last time there were two full supermoons in the same month was in 2018. According to Italian astronomer Gianluca Masi, originator of the Virtual Telescope Project, it will not occur again until 2037. Masi will provide a live webcast of the supermoon rising over the Colosseum in Rome on Tuesday evening.
The supermoon affords us a wonderful opportunity to gaze skyward and explore the night sky, he stated. July marked the first supermoon of the year. The fourth and concluding event will take place in September. The two in August will be closer than either of these.
Binoculars or backyard telescopes can enhance the experience, according to Espenak, illuminating features such as lunar maria — dark plains formed by ancient volcanic lava flows — and rays emanating from lunar craters under clear skies. According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, the full moon in August is commonly referred to as the sturgeon moon. Due to the abundance of this species in the Great Lakes in August hundreds of years ago, this is the case.