August Will Have Two Supermoons! Here’s How and When to See Them in Arizona
You've heard the expression, "once in a blue moon". That rare event that happens so infrequently, only a celestial event could herald its arrival? Well, August is your chance to use that phrase and mean it!
What is a Blue Moon?
You might be disappointed to find out that during a "blue moon", the moon doesn't actually turn a shade of blue.
According to Wikipedia, certain atmospheric conditions can cause the moon to appear blue, but a blue moon generally refers to timing rather than color.
The two different types are the Seasonal Blue Moon and the Calendrical Blue Moon. Space.com describes the Seasonal Blue Moon as the traditional definition. It's the third full moon in a season that has four full moons.
The Calendar Full Moon comes from a misunderstanding of the first definition. It's come to be known as the second full moon in a single calendar month.
What is a Supermoon?
No, the moon hasn't been bitten by a radioactive spider or replaced by an alien from Crypton. So what is a Supermoon?
Almanac.com says, "A supermoon exceeds the disk size of an average-sized Moon by up to 8% and the brightness of an average-sized full Moon by some 16%. You may not perceive the difference in size, but a supermoon will appear brighter in the sky."
Essentially, the moon's orbit is closest to the earth, or in perigee, so it appears to be a little bigger and brighter, and that's what we call the Supermoon.
August 1: Full Sturgeon Moon
Where do we get the name, Sturgeon Moon?
ScienceFocus.com explains that the name comes from Native American tribes who named the moons to mark events, similar to the way we note things on a calendar today.
According to CountryLiving.com, Native American tribes named the August moon after the sturgeon, a fish that was prolific in the Great Lakes in the United States and Canada in late summer.
See the full Sturgeon Moon in Arizona under clear skies on the evening of August 1st. The moon will rise at 7:48pm. Your best bet is to find somewhere outside of city lights.
Some suggestions are just about anywhere in Sedona or some of the wide open spaces in Santa Cruz or Cochise County.
August 30: Blue Moon
Just after 7pm on August 30th, the second supermoon of the month will be visible in Arizona. You can celebrate this moon as the Blue Moon since it's the second time the moon will be full in the month of August.
Almanac.com says the full supermoon on August 30th will be, "the closest, biggest, and brightest full supermoon of 2023. It’s exceptionally close in Moon miles from Earth (222,043 miles)."
"The next time we’ll have a closer full supermoon is November 5, 2025, when the moon lies 221,817 miles from Earth."