Attention moon watchers! Tonight (that's Wednesday, August 30) the full moon is going to be a really spectacular one.
It is going to be a blue supermoon!
And what is that exactly? Think of a supercharged, ultra-close full moon—only not blue—and you're on the right track.
Let's dig into what makes this lunar event such a rare one.
Supermoons get their name from the fact that they are closer to Earth than the average full moon.
This is made possible by the fact that the Moon's orbit is not a perfect circle—instead, it is a kind of oval shape. This means that the Moon is not always the same distance from Earth.
When the Moon is farthest away, it is at its apogee. And when it is at its closest, it is at its perigee.
Any full moon that is within 90% of the perigee is considered a supermoon. And at 357,344 kilometers (222,043 miles) from Earth, tonight's full moon is considered a supermoon. In fact, it will be the largest and brightest full moon of the year!
(And while we're here, a full moon at its apogee is called a micromoon. Cute!)
When blue means two
This supermoon will not be blue in colour. In fact, it will be more orangish than anything.
So why is it called a blue supermoon?
This term is used for any time there is a second full moon within the same month. (The previous full moon happened on August 1st, 2023.) Blue moons only happen once every two to three years, and there won't be another blue moon until May 31, 2026. So this is a pretty neat moment!
If it is an event that you want to see for yourself, it will be relatively easy to do. The moon will "rise", or appear in the sky, at around 9:35 pm EST. So cross your fingers for a clear, warm night and look up. We guarantee that it will be worth the effort!