Two Supermoons in August Mean Double the Stargazing Fun
Florida, 30 Jul (ONA) --- The cosmos is offering up a double feature in August: a pair of supermoons culminating in a rare blue moon.
The first show on Tuesday as the full moon rises, appearing slightly brighter and bigger than normal. That’s because it will be closer than usual, just 222,159 miles (357,530 kilometers) away, thus the supermoon label.
The moon will be even closer the night of 30 August 2023 — a scant 222,043 miles (357,344 kilometers) distant. Because it’s the second full moon in the same month, it will be what’s called a blue moon.
“Warm summer nights are the ideal time to watch the full moon rise in the eastern sky within minutes of sunset. And it happens twice in August,” said retired NASA astrophysicist Fred Espenak, dubbed Eclipse for his eclipse-chasing expertise.
The last time two full supermoons graced the sky in the same month was in 2018. It won’t happen again until 2037, according to Italian astronomer Gianluca Masi, founder of the Virtual Telescope Project.
This year’s first supermoon was in July. The fourth and last will be in September. The two in August will be closer than either of those.
Provided clear skies, binoculars or backyard telescopes can enhance the experience, revealing such features as lunar maria — the dark plains formed by ancient volcanic lava flows — and rays emanating from lunar craters.