August’s lunar celebrations will culminate with a blue supermoon on Wednesday night at 9:36 p.m. Eastern.
When there are two full moons in one calendar month, we call it a “blue moon.” Although there is only ever one full moon in any given month, blue moons may occur when the lunar cycle lasts for 29.5 days, which is somewhat less than a typical calendar month. Due to this discrepancy, there will be two full moons in certain months.
As predicted, two full moons will appear in August: the first on August 1 and the second on the evening of August 30.
When the full moon coincides with the moon’s perigee, or closest point to Earth, we get a supermoon. Supermoons are larger and more luminous than typical full moons. NASA estimates that the increase in size is about equivalent to the size of a nickel compared to a quarter.
Every three to four months, there will be a supermoon. It’ll be the second one in August and the third overall this year. However, blue moons are very rare, occurring just once every few years (thus the expression “once in a blue moon”). A blue supermoon only happens around once every ten years, making it even more of a rarity. Two more blue supermoons will occur in 2037; the previous one occurred in 2018 during a lunar eclipse.
No. The moon will seem primarily its typical milky grey colour, despite the popular misconception that the phrase “blue moon” accurately describes its appearance. (The orange coloration of the summer sky in North America was caused by the same phenomenon that can turn the moon blue: wildfires and volcanic eruptions.)
According to NASA, a “blue moon” was originally used to describe the third full moon in a season with four full moons. In 1946, the journal Sky & Telescope popularised the more modern definition of a “supermoon” as the second full moon in a calendar month.
The blue supermoon will be seen all around the world because, unlike other celestial phenomena, the phases of the moon are visible throughout nighttime for everyone on Earth. This implies that it is as simple as gazing upward at night. NASA suggests using binoculars or a telescope to get a better look at the moon’s surface detail.
Full moon will be visible in the United States on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings. A brilliant dot may also be seen to the top right of the moon on Wednesday night. Here we see Saturn, with its closest approach to Earth still a few days away. The planet with rings orbits the moon in a clockwise direction at night.