The celestial spectacle of the Super Blue Moon is set to grace our skies on August 30. This astronomical event, often referred to as ‘Once in a Blue Moon’, promises an enhanced viewing experience with the moon appearing approximately 40% larger and 30% brighter than a typical full moon.
Despite its name, viewers should not expect to see a blue-hued moon. Instead, the Super Blue Moon will cast an enchanting orange glow across the night sky. The term ‘Blue Moon’ does not refer to the color of the moon but rather describes a rare occurrence when two full moons appear in quick succession.
A Blue Moon is defined as a supermoon or full moon that coincides with the moon’s perigee – the point in its orbit when it is closest to Earth. This proximity results in the moon’s increased size and brightness, making it a sight to behold for stargazers.
Contrary to popular belief, Blue Moons are not exceedingly rare. They occur approximately every 2.5 years due to the discrepancy between the lunar cycle and the calendar year. A lunar cycle lasts roughly 29.5 days, resulting in a total of 354 days for 12 cycles in a year. This leaves room for an extra, or 13th, full moon to occur every few years.
This upcoming Super Blue Moon marks the end of a four-part lunar phenomenon and is expected to be the third-largest moon of the year. To get the best view of this celestial event, it is recommended to observe the moon just after sunset during the hours of dusk. The Super Blue Moon will be visible at about 8:37 PM EDT on August 30.
While the size difference may not be apparent to the naked eye, using binoculars can enhance the viewing experience of the Super Blue Moon. So, mark your calendars and prepare for an evening under the mesmerizing glow of the Super Blue Moon.