(WKBN) – Skywatchers are in for quite a sight this week as the full moon – and the year’s last supermoon – rises alongside a meteor shower.
The next full moon is Thursday night. It’s also a “supermoon,” meaning it will appear bigger and brighter in the sky than a standard full moon due to the distance of the moon from the earth.
What is a supermoon?
NASA defines a supermoon as a full moon occurring at the same time as the moon’s perigee. The perigee is the closest point of the moon’s 27-day orbit to the earth. During each orbit is a perigee, or point where the moon is closest to the earth, and an apogee, or point where the moon is farthest from Earth.
To be considered a supermoon, the full moon has to occur when the moon is within 90% of the closest distance at the most recent perigee.
NASA says roughly three to four supermoons occur each year and they usually happen back-to-back. This month’s full moon is the fourth and final “supermoon” of 2022. When a full moon occurs during the moon’s perigee or closest point, the moon will appear about 17% bigger and about 30% brighter.
When is the moon at perigee and how far from Earth is the moon?
The moon reached perigee early Wednesday afternoon. At that time, the moon reached the closest point in the current orbit cycle, coming within 223,587 miles of Earth.
Of the 14 different perigees to happen in 2022, this most recent perigee is the fifth closest distance this year. The closest pass of the year occurred last month for the Buck Supermoon.
What is the August full ‘supermoon’ moon called?
According to NASA, the August full moon is called the “Sturgeon Moon.” The name was first published in the 1930s in the Maine Farmer’s Almanac, along with other Native American names for the full moons.
That publication stated the Algonquin tribe gave the August full moon the name because it was easier to catch sturgeon during this time of year.
Some also refer to the full moon as the “Green Corn Moon,” according to NASA.
When can you see the Sturgeon Moon, the last supermoon of 2022?
The full “Sturgeon” supermoon will appear in the southeastern sky as twilight ends Thursday evening, shortly after 9 p.m. ET, according to NASA. It will reach its fullest stage at around 9:36 p.m. ET. The moon will continue to appear full through Saturday morning.
While it is expected to be a stunning sight, the Sturgeon Supermoon could hamper your ability to see the Perseid meteor shower that will be nearing its peak around the same time.