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what is it, when it peaks and how to see it : NPR

This photo taken on August 1, 2023 shows the second supermoon of 2023, also known as the Sturgeon Moon, rising behind Madrid’s Cuatro Torres business district.

Javier Soriano/AFP via Getty Images

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Javier Soriano/AFP via Getty Images

what is it, when it peaks and how to see it : NPR

This photo taken on August 1, 2023 shows the second supermoon of 2023, also known as the Sturgeon Moon, rising behind Madrid’s Cuatro Torres business district.

Javier Soriano/AFP via Getty Images

Both amateur astronomers and idiom lovers will have reason to rejoice this week: it’s once a blue moon that a real the blue moon will rise in the sky.

And it’s not just any blue moon. This is a rare super blue moon. Earth’s lunar sidekick will appear very large and bright as it peaks on Wednesday.

We won’t see this particular double lunar again until 2037, so here’s what you need to know to get the most out of it.

First things first: what is a supermoon?

A perigee full moon, better known as a supermoon, occurs when the moon is full at the closest point in its orbit around Earth.

According to NASA, the typical orbit of the Moon is between 226,000 and 251,000 miles from Earth, but variations can bring it a little closer or farther. Only the three or four closest approaches each year are considered supermoons.

The last supermoon fell earlier this month, on August 2, prompting photographers around the world to document the big, bright spectacle, from the moody New York skyline to the illuminated late-night football games in Africa. from South.

Still, the supermoon coming this week will be even bigger and brighter – the biggest and brightest of 2023 – as the moon will be “unusually close” to Earth at 222,043 miles away, according to The Old Farmer’s Almanac. – nearly 17,000 miles closer than average.

That means it will appear “about 8 percent larger than a normal full moon and 15 percent brighter than a normal full moon,” according to Dave Teske, lunar topographic studies coordinator for the Association of Lunar and Planetary Observers.

And while it won’t make much of a difference to the naked eye, it will still be a sight to behold.

As Teske said: “It will be big, bright and beautiful”.

But it’s not just a supermoon. It’s a super blue moon

While the term “supermoon” refers to the moon’s orbit relative to Earth, a blue moon is frequency related. Confusingly, it has nothing to do with color either (although there was a time when a blue moon actually turned blue).

The Moon takes 27.3 days to orbit Earth, but due to the way sunlight hits the celestial body, it takes 29.5 days to complete its lunar cycle from one new moon to the next. . It is therefore rare on Earth to see two full moons in the space of a single month. When we do, we call it a “blue moon.”

The term “blue moon” is also used in some circles to describe the third of four full moons in an astrological season.

And the phrase “once in a blue moon” is used to describe a rare but nonetheless recurring event. But according to NASA, blue moons aren’t that rare, they recur every 2.5 years or so.

However, a super blue moon occurs much less frequently. The last blue supermoon was in December 2009, and the next won’t be until January 2037, NASA reports.

When and where can I see it?

This year’s blue supermoon will officially be full at 9:36 p.m. ET on August 30, according to Space.com, but to the naked eye it will appear just as full from Tuesday evening through Friday morning, with the shadow band showing. so narrow that it is practically imperceptible.

And if you’re looking for a particularly large moon, consider watching the moonrise in the east or moonset in the west. Experts say this is when foreground objects combine with a low moon to create the ‘moon illusion’ – when the moon tends to appear at its largest.

(You can check the local sunrise and sunset times for your area using the US Navy’s Moonrise Calendar).

Anyone wishing to observe the lunar surface in more detail can use binoculars, a telescope or an astrophotography lens. But astronomers like Teske say those tools aren’t necessary for a moving experience.

“Go out and watch it. Just enjoy the beautiful view of the moon,” he said. “Really think about what you see there.”

After all, it’s not just a piece of rock orbiting the Earth some 400,000 kilometers away. This could be the next frontier.

Last week, the Indian Space Agency successfully landed a spacecraft on the Moon’s south pole, where frozen water craters could fuel future missions. The Japanese space agency, JAXA, nearly launched a lunar lander (but postponed the moon shot due to high winds).

And private company SpaceX has partnered with NASA to dock a crew of astronauts to the International Space Station, to perform experiments that could one day facilitate round trips to the Moon.

“We’re doing things with the Moon right now that are slowly and steadily gaining public interest,” said Noah Petro, research scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

Petro said the value of supermoons like these is that they “allow us to take a moment, revel in and enjoy the nearest neighbor and space.”

“It’s not so far away that we can’t see it. It’s actually right there in our garden,” he added.

A word of caution: this moon could bring a high risk of flooding.

But those looking to view the moon from a beach should consider checking the conditions first.

The moon’s proximity means that for several days this week the tidal range will be greater than normal.

The Moon will exert 48% more tidal force during the high tides on August 30 compared to two weeks earlier, according to Space.com. Higher tides could get higher, which could cause coastal flooding.

This risk will be especially heightened along Florida’s Gulf Coast, where Hurricane Idalia is expected to make landfall early Wednesday.

NPR’s Dustin Jones contributed reports.

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Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.

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