A ‘supermoon’ is a term coined by astrologer Richard Nolle in 1979 to describe a special kind of full moon that appears larger and brighter in the sky than a regular full moon.
This phenomenon occurs when the moon is at its closest point to Earth in its elliptical orbit, known as the perigee. When a full moon coincides with its perigee, it can appear around 14% larger and 30% brighter than when it’s at its farthest point from Earth, known as the apogee.
Supermoons are a result of the moon’s elliptical orbit around Earth. While the moon’s distance from Earth does vary throughout its orbit, the difference in size and brightness between a supermoon and a regular full moon can sometimes be challenging to perceive with the naked eye, especially when the moon is high in the sky. Nonetheless, supermoons can be visually striking and capture the attention of skywatchers and photographers.
The technical term for a supermoon is ‘perigee-syzygy of the Earth-Moon-Sun system’. In astronomy, ‘syzygy’ means a straight-line configuration of three celestial bodies. Another name for a supermoon is ‘perigee full moon’.
The first supermoon of this year 2023 was in July, and the last one for 2023 will occur in September. The supermoon on Tuesday is also called as ‘sturgeon moon’.
What is Sturgeon Moon ?
The full moon in August is also called the ‘sturgeon moon’ because, in the past, a lot of sturgeon fish were found in the Great Lakes in North America during this time of the year, according to time and date.
Supermoons in 2023
After 2018, this is the first time we are having two full supermoons in the same month, and it will not happen again until 2037, according to Time and Date. On Tuesday (August 1), the moon will be only 357,530 kilometres from Earth and can be witnessed as a supermoon.
When to watch from India?
In India, people can witness the supermoon at its peak at 12.02 am on August 2. The second supermoon of the month will occur on August 31, but it might not be visible in India as it will reach its peak at 7.05 am.