(SOUTHERN COLORADO) — Another month has come and gone, and with the month of August now in our sights, there is no better time to welcome in a full moon. However, it’s not just any full moon that the new month will be greeting us with – it’s a Sturgeon Supermoon.
A couple of different qualifications have to be met in order to be deemed such an event. This includes:
- A supermoon
- The first full moon of August
The Sturgeon remark specifically refers to that last point. So far this year, we have seen one supermoon – but there are actually three more on the way, including the one happening on August 1. The first supermoon happened back on July 3 and was considered a ‘Full Buck Moon’.
So, what makes a supermoon… well, super? To put it simply, supermoons are bigger and brighter than their plain old counterpart full moons. The one happening on Tuesday will be about 8% bigger and 16% brighter.
Specifically, the Sturgeon Supermoon will also be about 16,000 miles closer than other full moons. It will appear bigger and brighter due to its closer proximity to Earth.
Brenda Culbertson, a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador, comments, “Although there is nothing different between a Supermoon and a regular Full Moon except for the distance from Earth, Supermoons seem to be more fun to play with.”
Other tidbits about our moon and its features:
- A typical lunar orbit takes 27.3 days on an elliptical path around Earth
- A typical lunar cycle is 29.5 days (new moon to full moon)
- The moon is roughly 238,000 miles away from Earth
- The moon is less than a third of the width of Earth
The best place to see the supermoon on Tuesday will be in the southeastern sky just after sunset. Beyond this lunar spectacle, we will have two other supermoons this summer: one at the end of August and one at the end of September.
The additional supermoon at the end of August is what makes this event a little bit more unusual than the rest. We get the special treat of two supermoons in a single month – thus labeling the late August supermoon as a ‘Full Blue Moon.’ The last time this happened was back in 2018 and the next time it will happen again is 2032.
Here are a few additional photos of past supermoons, courtesy of NASA: