Every lunar cycle brings in a full moon with its astrological implications. But the upcoming month is turning out to be a unique one, as there are two full moons, both of which are supermoons — the sturgeon moon and an elusive blue moon. If you wish to catch a glimpse of this rare phenomenon, then read on to know how to watch the two supermoons in August 2023.
While each of them has its own impact on the zodiac signs, the two August supermoons make for dazzling cosmic theatrics against a dark night sky. Firstly, blue moons are infrequent events; adding to the blue moon is the occurrence of the sturgeon moon, making this calendar month a special one.
But before we delve into the timings of this celestial event, let us understand how they occur and what will the moon look like during this period.
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What are supermoons?
A supermoon occurs when the full moon’s orbit brings it in the closest proximity to the Earth, known as perigee. The distance of the moon at perigee is around 3,63,300 km from the planet. Conversely, when the moon stands at its farthest point from the Earth, it is termed apogee. That is around 4,05,500 km away because of its elliptical orbit.
Also referred to as the ‘Perigean full moon’, the satellite appears bigger and brighter than the average-sized moon during this time. However, not all supermoons are the same. The unique sequence of the Earth, moon and the Sun gives these full moons their radiance and enigma. According to Earth.com, “This precise alignment creates a slightly larger and brighter moon, with increases of up to 14 per cent in apparent size and up to 30 per cent in brightness compared to a micro moon, the term for a full moon at apogee.”
Typically, supermoons occur around three to four times a year. However, this year’s supermoon cycle is particularly fascinating because, as it has four consecutive supermoons — it began on 3 July with the Buck Moon and will conclude with the final supermoon on 29 September known as the Harvest Moon.
What is a blue moon?
We all have used the term ‘blue moon’ in casual conversation to imply something that seldom happens. It takes cues from this unusual astrological event where a particular calendar month experiences two full moons.
The moon technically completes a revolution around the Earth in 29.5 days. But since the months on the planet are longer with 30 or 31 days, full moons can appear twice in the same calendar month, roughly every 2 to 2.5 years. This second full moon is the rare blue moon. The name might hint at a colour shift, but blue moons don’t essentially take on a bluish hue.
However, Farmer’s Almanac also states a seasonal blue moon, with four full moons in a single season instead of three.
Now that we are abreast of the primary two terms, let’s take a deeper look into the two August supermoons.
More about the sturgeon moon and blue moon of August 2023
What is the sturgeon moon and how to watch it?
The first full moon of August 2023 is given the moniker sturgeon moon. It marks the second supermoon of the year and is going to be the brightest of them all. Like most other full moons, the sturgeon moon gets its name from the Native American groups living around the Great Lakes region. August is traditionally their time to hunt for the giant Sturgeon, a prehistoric-looking fish that has been found for over 136 million years.
The sturgeon moon will take place on 1 August 2023, at 06:31 pm GMT (14:31 EDT or 2:30 am SGT on 1 August). This is also the time around which it will reach peak illumination. The Almanac states, “That evening, look toward the southeast after sunset to catch a glimpse of the sturgeon moon rising.” This supermoon will occur in the Capricornus constellation.
The day is astrologically significant, as it coincides with the Pagan Lammas celebration. Additionally, it also marks a halfway point between the July solstice and the September equinox, two events which are orbital milestones for the Earth.
Blue moon of August 2023 and how to watch it?
This particular blue moon is the closest supermoon of the year as well. It will be a sight of natural splendour as the sky will be illuminated in all its glory. As the second supermoon of August, it will be present in the Aquarius constellation.
The August 2023 blue moon will take place on the 31st at 01:35 GMT (9:35 am SGT or 30 August, 21:35 EDT).
(Hero and feature image credit: Anderson Rian/ @oandersonrian/ Unsplash)
This story first appeared on Lifestyle Asia India
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Answer: August 2023 has not one but two supermoons. While the first is the sturgeon moon, the latter is a blue moon.
Answer: The first supermoon in August 2023 is the sturgeon moon. It will take place on 1 August at 18:31 GMT (2:31 p.m. EDT). The second supermoon will occur on 31 August at 01:35 GMT (30 August, 21:35 EDT).
Answer: The first full moon of August is known as the sturgeon moon.
Answer: The sturgeon moon is expected to be partially visible, depending on weather conditions at around 2:30 am SGT on 1 August. However, the blue moon may not be visible, since it will reach peak illumination at 9.35 am SGT on 31 August.