This August presents a remarkable opportunity for stargazers to witness not one, but two extraordinary supermoons.
The first one, known as the Sturgeon Moon, will illuminate the skies tonight (August 1) in various parts of the world, including the United States and Saudi Arabia. According to USAToday, this full supermoon will rise less than 226,000 miles (363,300 kilometers) from Earth tonight, making it 14% bigger and 30% brighter than usual, as mentioned by Pakistani space scientist Dr. Jawed Iqbal.
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The moon’s peak illumination will occur at 2:32 pm ETD on Tuesday, as per the Old Farmer’s Almanac. To catch a glimpse of the rising Sturgeon Moon, USAToday recommends turning your gaze to the southeast after sunset.
In Makkah, the supermoon will peak at 9:30 pm local time, according to Majed Abu Zahra, president of the Astronomical Society in Jeddah.
What is Supermoon ?
A supermoon is a phenomenon that happens when a full moon occurs during the closest point in its orbit around Earth, also known as its perigee.
NASA explains that this makes the moon appear up to 8% bigger and 16% brighter than a typical full moon, as described by The Old Farmer’s Almanac.
This month’s double occurrence of supermoons is rare and is referred to as a Blue Moon, which explains the idiom “once in a blue moon” for describing rare but recurring events. The next blue moon will not happen until August 2032, as reported by Time and Date.
On August 30, the super blue moon will be exceptionally close to Earth at 222,043 miles, nearly 17,000 miles closer than average, making it the biggest and brightest moon of 2023.
Its peak intensity will be closest to sundown in the United States. If you miss this August’s Super Blue Moon, you’ll have to wait nine years to witness it again, although blue moons occur more frequently, approximately every two and a half years, according to NASA.