Skywatchers are in for a remarkable spectacle today as they’ll have the chance to witness a supermoon, one of the largest and brightest moons of 2023.
A supermoon earns its name due to its substantial size when it appears in the sky, being the closest to Earth during a full moon phase.
On this day, the moon will be a mere 357,244 kilometers away from our planet. Adding to the uniqueness of this event, this full moon marks the second one in August, following the first occurrence on the 1st, hence earning the moniker “blue moon.”
In essence, we’re in for a “super blue moon.”
The significance lies in the rarity associated with a blue moon, often expressed as “once in a blue moon.” It’s an exceptional phenomenon arising when there are four full moons in a season, with the blue moon being the additional one.
Wondering about the timing of the “super blue moon”?
As reported by space.com, the second supermoon of the month will make its appearance at 7:10 pm EDT on Wednesday (4:30 am IST on Thursday).
However, the peak brightness and size will be observed two hours later, as indicated by the American space agency NASA.
The blue moon will set on Thursday, around 6:46 am EDT (4:16 pm on Thursday).
The Ideal Time for Observation
Although the supermoon rises during the evening hours in the United States, the optimal time for viewing is when natural light diminishes.
For those residing in India, an early morning view is expected as the supermoon will rise during the wee hours.
Additionally, those gazing at the sky might spot Saturn, visible near the moon. Saturn will appear to orbit the moon in a clockwise direction as the evening unfolds, according to NASA.
While Saturn should be visible to the naked eye, using binoculars or a telescope can enhance the experience by revealing more of the planet’s distinctive features.
The Next Super Blue Moon
Remarkably, the next occurrence of this rare phenomenon is projected to be in January 2037, followed by another one in March 2037, according to NASA.