August is winding down, but it still has a rare event to offer skywatchers: the second full moon.
The full moon that will rise on Wednesday, August 30, will also be special, as it is the union of a supermoon and a blue moon, or “super blue moon.” However, the Moon will not appear particularly blue at this time. The term “blue moon” has nothing to do with color, but rather refers to two full moons occurring in the same calendar month (as in this case), or the third full moon in a season with four full moons. Meanwhile, a supermoon refers to a full moon that occurs when the moon is closest to Earth in its orbit, causing it to appear slightly larger and brighter.
according to in the sky, From New York City, the second full moon of August will begin to rise above the eastern horizon in the constellation of Aquarius after sunset tonight at around 7:10 PM EDT (2310 GMT). The super blue moon will set before sunrise on Thursday, August 31 at around 06:46 a.m. EDT (1046 GMT).
And if the weather is bad in your area, don’t worry: You can watch the Super Blue Moon with a free live stream hosted by the Virtual Telescope Project.
Related: August 2023 Super Blue Moon Guide: The biggest and brightest moon of the year is approaching Saturn
The exact moment of the full moon is defined as the moment when the moon is exactly in opposition to the sun. For a super blue moon, this 180-degree separation from the sun occurs around 21:36 a.m. EDT (0336 on Thursday, Aug. 31). According to NASAand this is when he will be at his biggest and brightest.
After Wednesday’s full moon, the moon will rise and set an hour later each night, and the illuminated side of the moon will diminish, or “wane.” This leads to the appearance of the next new moon on Thursday, September 14th, at which time the moon will be completely dark and will rise and set with the sun, that is, it is completely absent from the night sky. The new moon will mark the beginning of the next lunar cycle of 29.5 days. And about two weeks after that, it will be the full moon, which is the full corn moon for the month of September. This will be the fourth supermoon in 2023, and it will also be the last supermoon of the year.
The supermoon phenomenon occurs because the moon’s orbit around the Earth is elliptical or elliptical rather than perfectly circular. As a result, there are times during the Moon’s orbit when it is farther away – at aphelion – and times when it is closer – at perigee. The distance between the Earth and the Moon at perihelion increases by about 14% compared to the distance at apogee, and changes from about 253,000 miles (408,000 km) to about 220,000 miles (350,000 km).
This 14% increase in closeness may seem like a lot, but it doesn’t make much difference to how the Moon appears to the untrained eye, even though it is technically much larger and brighter in the night sky.
Super blue moon coincidences are rare, ps NASA Saying that they occur on average once per decade. However, a Super Blue Moon can occur twice within the same month, or there can be up to two decades between a Super Blue Moon and the next.
according to in the sky, The next supermoon will be on September 18, 2024. This will be the first of two supermoons next year, and a second supermoon will follow a month later on October 17, 2024.
If you’re like us here at Space.com and enjoy looking at the moon up close, you’ll find our guides on The best telescopes And best binoculars It’s a great place to start to help you get the visuals you need to see lunar surface features in detail.
And if you are looking forward to taking pictures of these orbs night sky In general, see our guide on How to photograph the moonAnd so do we The best cameras for astrophotography And The best lenses for astrophotography.
Editor’s note: If you took a photo of the super blue moon and would like to share it with Space.com readers, send your photo(s), comments, name, and location to [email protected].
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