7 of the best photos of the final supermoon of 2022, the Sturgeon Moon

ISTANBUL, TURKEY - AUGUST 11: The Super Moon sinks behind the Hagia Sophia Mosque on August 11, 2022 in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Ahakan Akgun/dia images via Getty Images)

If you’re wondering why Thursday night’s moon was so big and dazzling, you’re wrong.

A supermoon occurred on Thursday, August 12, a rare phenomenon that causes the moon to appear larger and change color in the night sky.

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

Why is a supermoon so big and bright?

August’s full moon will appear bigger and brighter in the sky than usual because it’s an example of a phenomenon known as a supermoon, and it’s the last time you’ll see one in 2022.

A supermoon occurs because the moon moves closer and further away from Earth at different points during its elliptical orbit.

This means there can be up to 30,000 miles difference in its distance from our planet, with the closest point called perigee and the farthest point called apogee.

The supermoon sinks behind the Hagia Sophia Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey (Photo: Ahakan Akgun/Day Images via Getty)
The supermoon rises behind the Golden Gate Bridge and the San Francisco skyline (Photo: Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group/AP)
The last supermoon of the year sets in the early morning over Kosice, Slovakia (Photo: Robert Nemeti/Anadolu Agency/Getty)

If the moon is full when it reaches or approaches its closest point to the planet, it is considered a supermoon.

According to the Natural History Museum (NHM), supermoons appear so bright because they “shine about 30 percent more light onto the planet than when the moon is at its dimmest.”

More than science

This is because as the Moon gets closer, more of the Sun’s rays that are reflected off the Moon’s surface are visible from Earth.

The supermoon also looks even bigger when it rises and sets on the horizon, but that’s because of something called the “moon illusion.”

Professor Sara Russell, leader of the NHM’s Planetary Materials Group, said this could be due to their visual proximity to objects such as trees and buildings, which allows them to be compared directly.

When the moon is in the middle of the sky, he adds, “there are no points of comparison, which makes it look smaller.”

The Sturgeon Supermoon over the Royal Liver Building in Liverpool (Photo: Peter Byrne/PA Wire)
The supermoon behind The Shard in London (Photo: AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)

According to American astrologer Richard Nolle, it would have to be 90 percent of its closest approach to Earth to earn the tag, around 225,000 miles, which happens about three to four times a year .

Therefore, the phenomenon is relatively common. However, sometimes the skies line up to such an extent that we see one extra-supermoon (not an official term).

In November 2018, for example, the moon reached its fullest point about two hours after its perigee, according to NASA. As a result, it looked up to 14% bigger and 30% brighter than it would have at its peak.

This made it the largest supermoon since 1948, and we won’t see a full moon this close to Earth again until November 25, 2034.

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 .

The sturgeon supermoon behind Edinburgh Castle during the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo fireworks display (Photo: Jane Barlow/PA Wire)
The full moon behind the apartments in Frankfurt, Germany (Photo: AP Photo/Michael Probst)

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’s bad news if you missed it, because the next supermoon isn’t for another year.

The next one will be on August 1, 2023, and there will be another soon after, on August 31, 2023.

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