One August supermoon down, another yet to come

The next supermoon will occur on August 30th
WSFA meteorologist Tyler Sebree joins us to tell us about the double supermoons we will see in the month of August! Make sure to check it out
Published: Aug. 2, 2023 at 11:11 AM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - August 2023 will be a little different than the rest of the months this year astronomically speaking. That’s because by the time the month concludes there will have been two full moons!

Having two full moons within the same month only happens roughly every two and a half years. That’s why the second full moon to occur in a given month is called a Blue Moon. Because it’s considered a rather rare occurrence.

Cue the “once in a blue moon” phrase that we’ve all used at least once in our lives!

To make the two August full moons even more spectacular, each will be a supermoon. That is the name given to a full moon that happens when the Moon is at its closest point to Earth in its orbit.

A supermoon appears bigger and brighter than a typical full moon. We will see four of them...
A supermoon appears bigger and brighter than a typical full moon. We will see four of them this year.(WSFA 12 News)

Since the Moon goes around Earth in an ellipse, it has a point in which it is closest to Earth and a point in which it’s farthest from Earth. That closest point in its orbit is referred to as perigee; the opposite position is called apogee.

Supermoons happen three or four times per year, on average. So these are not exactly rare, but they are less common than the basic full moon that happens every month.

A supermoon can appear upwards of 14% bigger and 30% brighter than the typical smallest full moon. Compared to the average-sized full moon, a supermoon appears upwards of 7% bigger and 16% brighter.

August will feature two full moons this year.
August will feature two full moons this year.(WSFA 12 News)

These differences are noticeable to the naked eye, especially when the moon is rising in the eastern sky and setting on the western horizon. While up high in the sky the different between a supermoon and regular full moon is not quite as discernible.

If you didn’t get a chance to witness August’s Full Sturgeon Supermoon to kick off the month, be sure to venture out on the 30th. That’s when the Full Blue Supermoon will shine brightly in the night sky!

And if you end up missing out on that supermoon, don’t worry too much! September will bring yet another supermoon to the night sky. September’s Full Harvest Moon will be the fourth and final supermoon of 2023.

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