“Sturgeon Moon and Full Blue Moon: August’s Supermoons Illuminate the Night Sky”

By | July 31, 2023

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August is an exciting month for moon lovers, as it begins and ends with supermoons. The Full Sturgeon Moon will rise on August 1st, followed by the Full Blue Moon on August 30th. These full moons mark the midpoint of a series of four supermoons that started in July. The Sturgeon supermoon will rise at 14:31 EDT on August 1st and set at 05:11 EDT on August 3rd. After the Sturgeon full moon, the moon will enter its waning phase and rise and set an hour later each day. The next new moon will occur on August 16th, marking the start of a new lunar cycle. The August 30th Full Blue Moon will be the next supermoon, rising at 19:10 EDT and setting at 06:46 EDT on August 31st. Supermoons occur because the moon’s orbit around the Earth is not a perfect circle, resulting in points where it is closer or further away. The Sturgeon Moon will be 222,158 miles from Earth, while the Blue Moon will be around 222,043 miles away. Supermoons can result in a 30% brightening of the moon and a 14% increase in the size of the lunar disk as seen from Earth. The “summer of supermoons” will end on September 28th with the Full Corn Moon. Robert Lea reported

August is an exciting month for moon lovers, as it opens and closes with a supermoon. On Tuesday, Aug. 1, the Full Sturgeon Moon will rise, and the month will end with the Full Blue Moon on Aug. 30. Both of these full moons are supermoons and represent the midpoints in a chain of four such lunar events that began with the Full Buck Moon on July 3.

From New York City, the Sturgeon supermoon will rise at 14:31 EDT (1831 GMT) and set at 05:11 EDT (0911 GMT) on Wednesday, Aug. 3. According to In the Sky, the Sturgeon Moon will make a close pass to Saturn, making it an even more captivating sight.

After the Sturgeon full moon, the illuminated lunar face will recede, and the moon will be described as “waning.” Each day, the waning moon will rise and set an hour later. This progression leads to the next new moon on Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2023.

During the new moon, the moon will be completely dark, marking the start of a new 29.5-day lunar cycle. The moon will rise and set at around 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., respectively, during this time. This means that during the new moon, the moon is completely absent from the night sky.

Following the new moon, the illuminated side of the moon will begin to turn toward Earth, causing the lit lunar face to progressively brighten. Astronomers refer to this progression as “waxing.” This will lead to the next supermoon, the Aug. 30 Full Blue Moon. From New York City, it will rise at 19:10 EDT (2310 GMT) and set at 06:46 EDT (1146 GMT) on Aug. 31.

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But what makes these August full moons “supermoons,” and how are they different from regular full moons? Supermoons occur because the moon’s orbit around the Earth is not a perfect circle but rather a flattened circle or an ellipse. This means that during its 27.3-day orbit, there are points at which the moon is closer to the Earth and points at which it is further away. The visible size difference of the moon between the closest point, perigee, and the furthest, apogee, is about 14%.

A supermoon happens when the moon is both in the full moon phase of its 29.5-day lunar cycle and when it is around its perigee. The official term for a supermoon is a “perigean full moon.” It’s important to note that for a supermoon to occur, the moon doesn’t have to be exactly at its closest to Earth.

During the Full Sturgeon Moon, the moon will be 222,158 miles (357,530 km) from Earth, as shared by eclipse expert and retired NASA astrophysicist Fred Espanak. This is opposed to its average distance of around 238,000 miles (382,900 km) away. The perigee of the moon occurs on Aug. 2 at 01:52 EDT (0552 GMT) while the Sturgeon moon is in full swing.

On the Aug. 30 Blue full moon, the moon will be around 222,043 miles (357,343 km) from Earth, according to Almanac. This will make it the closest and brightest supermoon of 2023. Supermoons can result in around a 30% brightening of the moon and a 14% increase in the size of the lunar disk as seen from Earth. These differences are visible to experienced moon-watchers but may not be noticeable with the unaided eye unless one pays close attention to the moon nightly.

The “summer of supermoons” will conclude on Sept. 28 with the Full Corn Moon, which falls five days after the September equinox on Sept. 23, marking the end of summertime in the northern hemisphere. Unfortunately, next year won’t see a similar supermoon spectacular. Only two supermoons are expected in 2024, with the first occurring on Sept. 18 and the final one happening a month later on Oct. 18, 2024.

If you’re hoping to catch a glimpse of any of the three upcoming supermoons, starting with the Sturgeon Moon, consider referring to guides on the best telescopes and binoculars. For those interested in photographing the moon and the night sky, there are guides available on how to photograph the moon, as well as recommendations for the best cameras and lenses for astrophotography.

If you manage to capture an image of the Full Sturgeon Moon, don’t hesitate to share it with Space.com’s readers. Send your photo(s), comments, name, and location to spacephotos@space.com..

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