Stargazers will enjoy a double treat this week: a rare rare blue moon with the planet Saturn visible from behind.
The cosmic curtain rises on Wednesday night with the second full moon of the month, which is why it is considered blue. It’s called the “super moon” because it’s closer to Earth than usual, and it looks particularly big and bright.
This will be the closest full moon of the year, 222.043 miles (357.344 kilometers) away or so. This is more than 100 miles (160 kilometers) closer to the supermoon that appeared on August 1.
And as an added bonus, Saturn will be visible as a bright point 5 degrees to the upper right of the moon at sunset in the eastern and southeastern sky, according to NASA. The ringed planet will appear to rotate clockwise around the moon as night falls.
If you missed this month’s premiere, you better watch this one. There won’t be another super blue moon until 2037, according to Italian astronomer Gianluca Massi, founder of the Virtual Telescope Project.
Massey’s attempt to live-stream the appearance of the supermoon earlier this month was marred by clouds. He’s hoping for clearer skies this time so he can capture the super blue moon shining over St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican.
Weather permitting, the observers don’t need binoculars or telescopes — “just their eyes,” Massey said.
“I am always excited to admire the beauty of the night sky,” he said, especially when it features a giant blue moon.
The first supermoon of 2023 was in July. The fourth and final one will be in September.
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