(WKBN) — August begins with a full moon – and what’s more, it’s a supermoon.
The next full moon will occur at 2:32 p.m. ET Tuesday, Aug. 1. The moon will be below the horizon at that time, so you will have to wait until later in the day to catch the full moon.
Tuesday’s moon is the second of this year’s four “supermoons,” which appear bigger and brighter in the sky due to the distance of the moon from the Earth.
It is also the second of three full moons that will occur during the summer season.
What is the August full moon called?
According to NASA, the August full moon is called the “sturgeon moon,” a name that was published in the 1930s in the Maine Farmer’s Almanac.
According to the publication, the Native American tribe Algonquin gave the August full moon that name because it was easier for them to catch the prehistoric-looking sturgeon fish in larger bodies of water during this time of year.
NASA says another name for the August full moon is the “green corn” moon.
When can you see the Sturgeon supermoon?
The sturgeon moon will be nearly full when it rises Monday evening, July 31, but it will reach full illumination Tuesday afternoon, hitting its peak at 2:32 p.m. ET. However, it will be below the horizon at the time that 100% illumination is achieved.
You can catch a glimpse of the moon rising on Tuesday evening by looking toward the southeast after sunset.
The moon phase Monday evening through Tuesday morning is called the Waxing Gibbous, when the illuminated part of the moon goes from 50.1% to 99.9%.
The moon will still appear nearly full when rising Wednesday, Aug. 2.
What is a supermoon?
NASA defines a supermoon as any full moon occurring around the same time as the moon’s perigee, or closest point of orbit with the Earth. In contrast, an apogee is the point where the moon is farthest from the Earth.
The moon takes about 27 days to orbit the Earth, with its perigee occurring during each 27-day cycle.
NASA says there are roughly three to four supermoons each year, and they usually occur back to back. When the full moon occurs during its perigee, it will appear about 17% bigger and about 30% brighter than when it is at its apogee. To be considered a supermoon, the full moon has to occur when the moon is within at least 90% of its perigee.
According to the Farmer’s Almanac, the moon’s perigree can vary slightly from “month to month and year to year,” meaning the distance from Earth may not be the same each time.
Incidentally, the Farmer’s Almanac stated, this year’s new moon (the opposite of a full moon) on Jan. 21 was at its closest distance to Earth “in nearly 1,000 years (992 to be exact).”
A blue supermoon, one of 2023’s rare celestial occurrences, is coming later this month on Aug. 30. A blue moon occurs when there are two full moons in one month.
The last time two full supermoons graced the sky in the same month was in 2018. It is not expected to happen again until 2037.
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.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.