Why the August 2022 full moon looks so big and when it will peak

A passenger plane is seen with the full moon behind in Moscow, Russia August 9, 2022. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Stargazers will be excited to see the last supermoon light up the night sky on August 12 at 1:36 GMT.

Also called the “sturgeon moon,” it appears larger and brighter because of how close this full moon is to Earth.

It’s the fourth and final supermoon of 2022. Here’s everything you need to know.

What are supermoons?

According to the Natural History Museum’s Sara Russell, professor of planetary science and leader of the museum’s Planetary Materials Group, a supermoon happens when the full moon is closest to Earth.

“During a supermoon, the moon is at its closest stage to Earth,” he says. “This will typically last two to five full moons, which is why there are several supermoons in a row.

More than science

“After that, the moon enters the farthest part of its orbit.”

According to the Natural History Museum’s website, supermoons appear so bright because they “shine about 30 percent more light onto the plant than when the moon is dimmer.”

The reason for this is that as the Moon is closer, more of the Sun’s rays that are reflected off the Moon’s surface reach the Earth.

And as for its size, when the supermoon rises and sets on the horizon it looks bigger but this is due to what is called the “moon illusion”.

Professor Russell explains that the Moon’s position near the horizon where there are trees and buildings to compare it to in size may have something to do with it.

He adds that when the Moon is in the middle of the sky, “there are no points of comparison, which makes it look smaller.”

Also, when a lunar eclipse occurs on the same night as a supermoon, a rare occurrence, the moon appears red and is known as a “super blood moon,” such as the one seen on May 16. this year

NASA says: “The term ‘supermoon’ was coined in 1979 and is often used to describe what astronomers would call a perigee (pear-ih-jee-un) full moon: A full moon that occurs near or at the time when the Moon is at its closest point in its orbit around the Earth.”

The website says, “The farthest point on this ellipse is called heyday and is about 253,000 miles (405,500 kilometers) from Earth on average.

“Its closest point is the perigeewhich is an average distance of about 226,000 miles (363,300 kilometers) from Earth.”

More than science

Why are they also called ‘Sturgeon Moons’?

According to Live Science, it’s believed to be related to how many fish were caught during this particularly bright moon.

“The name sturgeon moon comes to us from the Algonquian tribes of what is now eastern North America, as large sturgeon were more easily caught in the Great Lakes at this time of year,” he says .

NASA explained that the Maine Farmer’s Almanac began printing Native American names for full moons in the 1930s, and those names have stuck.

How often does a supermoon occur?

While a full moon occurs once every lunar cycle (lasting 29.5 days), a supermoon only happens three or four times a year.

Until 2025, there will be four a year.

When is the next supermoon?

It will peak on Friday 12 August at 01:36 GMT. The last supermoon was on July 13.

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