Sky enthusiasts and stargazers are in for a treat this week as the much-anticipated Super Blue Moon of August 2023 is poised to grace the heavens. According to NASA, the dazzling celestial event is scheduled to occur on August 30, offering a breathtaking spectacle that promises to be a highlight for skywatchers. This phenomenon is anticipated to be particularly remarkable as it takes its place as the most sizable and brightest moon of the entire year.
Intriguingly, this Super Blue Moon will also mark the third full moon within this season, with a total of four such moons anticipated in the sequence. The lunar series began with the awe-inspiring Full Sturgeon Moon on August 1, captivating observers around the globe with its luminous beauty. The forthcoming moonrise on August 30 is poised to outshine its predecessors as the most resplendent supermoon of the year.
The phenomenon of a supermoon is attributed to the moon’s elliptical orbit around Earth, which causes fluctuations in its proximity. At its nearest point, termed perigee, the moon appears 14 percent larger and an impressive 30 percent brighter. This increased luminosity is a key factor that sets supermoons apart.
According to experts, the prime opportunity to witness the full magnificence of a supermoon is during twilight, just after sunset. The Super Blue Moon of August 30, 2023, is set to achieve 100 percent illumination at precisely 8:37 pm EDT. This timely emergence during twilight enhances the visual spectacle, making it a must-watch event for sky enthusiasts.
For those eager to witness this celestial marvel, the best moment to view the Super Blue Moon is at moonrise in your location. Additionally, Europe will enjoy an extra evening of observation, with the moon gracing the skies on August 31, slightly later than its appearance on the previous day.
Adding to the celestial theater of August 2023, the Super Blue Moon will share the stage with none other than Saturn. NASA notes that this second-largest planet in our solar system will be prominently visible in the night sky, having recently passed its opposition – the point where it lies opposite the sun as observed from Earth.
August 31 is the biggest full moon of the year, the Super Blue Moon.🌕And two days before that, on August 29, Uranus begins its retrograde. This retrograde will last for many months from this date.⭐️ pic.twitter.com/Sasxd73VLo
— kouji (@yoyonofukuoka) August 28, 2023
From vantage points like New York City, Saturn will adorn the sky just above and to the right of the moon, nestled within the constellation Aquarius. Conversely, in the Southern Hemisphere, Saturn will appear below the moon, creating a mesmerizing celestial duet that promises to captivate all who cast their gaze toward the heavens.