Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton

Astrophysicists urge stargazers not to miss August’s double-supermoon

Published: 30 August 2023
moon in sky over town

The UK will experience its second supermoon of August, on the eve of Wednesday 30 August – and stargazers are being urged not to miss out.

Formally known as a blue moon, this rare opportunity offers spectators a chance to marvel at the wonders of the sky. This blue moon will be both brighter and closer than the last supermoon on 1 August, this time at 222,043miles (357,344km) with its peak at 2.35am (BST).)

Dr Philip Wiseman, a Postdoctoral Researcher in Astrophysics at University of Southampton, believes it is said: “The last time there were two supermoons in the same calendar month was 2018, and there won’t be another like this until 2037.”

Dr Wiseman confirmed precisely that: “The moon actually has a slight elliptical orbit, so it is not perfectly circular, when that ellipses lines up when it is full it actually is closer to earth.

“Because it is closer to us it appears bigger, 8 per cent bigger than an average full, which actually means it appear brighter too by about 16 per cent,” continued Dr Wiseman.

Luckily, it should be relatively easy to see the cosmic display. Dr Wiseman said: “The moon will be bigger and brighter than normal and all you really need to do is look up.”

The first supermoon that occurred earlier this month was formally known as Sturgeon, because of the abundance of that fish in the Great Lakes in August hundreds of years ago, and was a total of 222,159 miles (357,530km) away.

For comparison, at its further point from Earth, the moon is about 252,088 miles (405,696km) away and this final supermoon will be 8% bigger and 16% brighter than the average full moon.

Privacy Settings