(CTN NEWS) – Tonight, and once more at the month’s end, denizens of New England can indulge in some celestial delights, reserved exclusively for sky gazers.
The current month boasts a remarkable spectacle of not one, but two full moons. When a single month embraces two full moons, as is the case with August, the second of the two is affectionately labeled a Blue Moon.
These exceptional lunar events, known as supermoons, transpire when the full moon or new moon aligns closely with perigee—the nearest point to Earth in its elliptical orbit—resulting in a moon of slightly grander proportions as perceived from our vantage on Earth.
Prepare for a full supermoon extravaganza on Tuesday, followed by a full super blue moon at the conclusion of August, precisely on the 30th.
New Englanders can look forward to clear skies tonight, making the full moon observable with moonrise set for 8:36 p.m. in Boston. The full moon on this particular night has been endearingly christened the “Sturgeon” or “Corn” moon.
An analysis spanning from 1900 to 2050 reveals that the moon has attained its full phase in close proximity to perigee, qualifying as a supermoon, on no fewer than 19 occasions—averaging roughly once every 7.9 years.
Although not exceedingly rare, it can certainly appear so, particularly when a super blue moon graces the skies, with intervals ranging from a mere five to as lengthy as 14 years.
Date of Next Blue Supermoon Confirmed: January 31, 2037, by NASA JPL Solar System Ambassador
The last occurrence of such a blue supermoon took place five years ago, back in January 2018, while the forthcoming one is scheduled for January 31, 2037, as confirmed by Tony Rice, a NASA JPL Solar System Ambassador.
In an enchanting video captured from Winthrop, we are treated to the captivating sight of the Buck Moon—the year’s most expansive full moon—ascend majestically over Boston Harbor on July 13, 2022.
Steering away from lunar affairs, the skies of the Northeast have an additional spectacle in store—a rocket launch. The Antares rocket will embark on its journey from Wallops, Virginia, at precisely 8:31 p.m. this evening.
Residents of Southwestern Connecticut can witness the launch at approximately 8:33 p.m., while those in most parts of Massachusetts can enjoy the sight roughly 150 to 180 seconds after the launch. For a fleeting glimpse, cast your gaze southwest between 8:33 and 8:34 p.m.
Indeed, a celestial feast awaits all those who turn their eyes skyward tonight.
How to Observe the Supermoon: Tips from Astrophysics Experts
Astrophysics professor Catherine Heymans from the University of Edinburgh suggests a simple way to witness the supermoon’s splendor. Look to the horizon just after sunset to catch a glimpse of this stunning celestial event.
The Sturgeon Moon is set to rise on August 1, appearing full for the following couple of nights.
Although technically reaching its full phase at 19:31 BST, observers in the UK will only be able to see it after it rises above the horizon at 21:22 BST, as confirmed by Royal Observatory Greenwich astronomer Dr. Greg Brown.
Dr. Brown emphasizes that the Moon will appear indistinguishable from a full Moon throughout the night until it sets at 05:42 BST the next morning.
With a clear, low horizon to the southeast, you can spot it earlier, but it will rise quickly, becoming visible from virtually anywhere in the country.
As the brightest object in the night sky, the supermoon will be easily observable, regardless of whether you are in a brightly lit city or a dark countryside.
No special equipment is needed, but if you want to enhance your experience, a pair of binoculars or a small telescope can magnify its features, providing a clearer view of its surface.
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