First Supermoon of August 2023

August 2, 2023
Photo of a supermoon visible in the evening sky

This full moon is the second largest in Earth’s skies for 2023 …

NASA’s official Twitter account for the Earth’s moon on Tuesday’s supermoon – the first of two supermoons happening in August.

What Is a Supermoon? Known to astronomers as a "perigean moon," a supermoon occurs when the moon is full and is also at its closest point to Earth on its orbit. NPR explains, "This gives its appearance an extra pop, making it look up to 8% bigger and 16% brighter than a typical full moon, according to The Old Farmer's Almanac," continuing, "Only the closest three or four approaches [of the moon to the Earth] each year qualify as supermoons. The last one was on July 3."

Big Picture: On Tuesday, the Sturgeon Full Moon (a supermoon) was visible to viewers around the world. The full moon in August is usually called a sturgeon moon because August is "the time of year when the continent's largest freshwater fish are beginning their spawning season," The Washington Post explains, noting that "The name was a signal to Indigenous tribes around the Great Lakes area that August was the best time to fish for sturgeon."

Looking Ahead: On August 30-31, a second supermoon – called a "Blue Moon" – will make an appearance in the sky. The Old Farmer's Almanac says this supermoon "will be the closest, biggest, and brightest full supermoon of 2023." NPR reports that a blue supermoon (when a supermoon happens twice within the same calendar month) won't occur again for nine years!

If you miss August's blue supermoon, you'll have to wait 9 years for your next chance

Sturgeon Full Moon and Blue Moon: August 2023

AP PHOTOS: The first supermoon in August rises around the world

by Jenna Lee,