History of a Sturgeon Supermoon
You may have noticed we’re presently experiencing a full moon. But it is not your typical, ordinary, usual full moon.
It’s a supermoon, or more precisely, a Sturgeon Supermoon.
What makes a supermoon?
Supermoons are bigger and brighter than your typical run-of-the-mill full moon. The one we see this week is 8% bigger and 16% brighter.
How does a Sturgeon Supermoon differ from a Supermoon?
In North America, the August full moon is traditionally known as the Sturgeon Supermoon because this is the time of year when the continent’s largest freshwater fish, the Sturgeon, begin their spawning season.
This lunar event goes by other names. Most notable are Harvest Moon, Full Red Moon, Green Corn Moon, Grain Moon, Black Cherries Moon, Flying Up Moon, and Mountain Shadow Moon.
Because it’s happening in August, it’s 16,000 miles closer to the Earth than your typical full moon. It’s that proximity to the Earth that makes it a supermoon.
Where is it best viewed?
If you’re on Earth, it’s visible everywhere. It is in the southeastern sky, just after sunset.
How common are supermoons?
It’s possible to have 12 to 13 full or new moons annually, with three or four of them being classified as supermoons based on the proximity of the Moon to the Earth. Supermoons typically appear up to 14 percent larger and 30 percent brighter than the smallest-seeming full moon.
When is the next supermoon?
If you miss the current one, another supermoon will be on August 31. Indeed, it will be a super blue moon, which only happens once-in-a-blue moon, meaning if there are two full moons in a single month, as I have written about in my article on Blue Moons. The last happened on January 31, 2018, and the next won’t occur until January 31, 2037.
Bill Petro, your friendly neighborhood historian