August’s lunar clamor wrapped up on a note: the appearance of a blue supermoon on Wednesday at 9:36 p.m. ET.
The blue moon is the second of two full moons in one month. Each month usually hosts only one full moon, but blue moons sometimes appear because the lunar cycle is 29.5 days, just under the length of an average calendar month. This difference means that some months see two full moons.
And that’s exactly what happened this month: the first full moon appeared on August 1, and the second on Wednesday.
What is a blue supermoon?
A supermoon occurs when the full moon phase of the lunar cycle coincides with perigee, or when it is closest to Earth. Supermoons appear brighter and larger than regular full moons. According to NASAthe apparent increase in volume is 14 percent, which is the difference between a nickel and a quarter.
Will the moon really look blue?
No, the term “blue moon” does not really describe its color; It is mostly the usual milky gray. (Some phenomena such as forest fires and volcanic eruptionscan color the moon blue, the same visual effect that gave the North American sky an orange hue this summer.)
According to NASAThe term “blue moon” is used to refer to the third full moon in a season that includes four full moons. The most recent definition – the second full moon in a month – was coined by Sky & Telescope magazine in 1946.
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