Two supermoons to light up skies in phenomenon that won’t repeat for 14 years

Two supermoons will be lighting up the skies in August, with one of them being a spectacle that won’t be seen again for 14 years. 

Amongst the two supermoons will be a rare blue moon.

Blue moons aren’t actually blue, but instead appear that way due to a haze of dust particles in the atmosphere. 

A supermoon occurs when the moon’s orbit is closest to Earth while also being full.

The term was coined by Richard Noelle in a 1979 article for Dell Horoscope magazine, according to

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He described a supermoon as “a new or full moon which occurs with the moon at or near (within 90 percent of) its closest approach to Earth in a given orbit”.

The first supermoon, which is being called Sturgeon, will be able to be seen on Tuesday, August 1, at 7:31 pm. The moon will be able to be seen in New York at 8:44pm and in Los Angeles at 8:28pm. At that time, the moon will be just 222,159 miles away. The moon is usually about 238,855 miles away on average. 

According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, the moon is called Sturgeon because of the giant sturgeon that used to be caught in the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain.

Later in the month, on Thursday, August 31, the moon will be closer to Earth — just 222,043 miles away at 2:35am. According to The Almanac, it will reach its peak at 9:36pm. This will be the rare blue moon and the second supermoon of the month. 

The last time two supermoons occurred in the same month was back in 2018. According to Gianluca Masi, founder of the Virtual Telescope Project, it won’t happen again until 2037. Masi will be having a live webcast of the supermoon Tuesday.

The Royal Observatory in Greenwich says that “so long as there’s not too much cloud, the full Moon will be an unmistakable white orb in the sky. 

“This is a good opportunity to use a small telescope or a pair of binoculars to see the Moon’s detailed surface, or even try taking a few interesting moon photos.”

A supermoon can appear up to 14 percent larger and 30 percent brighter than a full moon because of how much closer it is.

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