July 16, 2024

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2:15 PM | *Rare super blue moon tonight and – as an added bonus

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When the sun goes down tonight, go outside and look to the east. The moon will be full for the second time this month meaning this will be considered a blue moon. Typically, full moons occur every 29 days, while most months in our calendar last 30 or 31 days, so the months and moon phases don’t always align. This results in a blue moon about every 2.5 years with the last one occurring in August 2021. The full moon will actually reach a peak at 9:36 p.m. ET on the evening of August 30, but will appear full through Friday morning, according to NASA.

In addition to being a blue moon, this full moon can be considered a supermoon. Definitions of a supermoon can vary, but the term generally denotes a full moon that is closer to Earth than normal and thus appears larger by about 14% than a normal full moon and also brighter in the night sky. The moon will be 222,043 miles (357,344 kilometers) away from Earth, nearly 18,000 miles (28,968 kilometers) closer than its average distance. The supermoon may have played a role with the landfalling Hurricane Idalia this morning along Florida’s Gulf coast as it enhances tides and worsens storm surge perhaps by a foot or so. Because of the supermoon’s proximity to Earth, its gravity has a stronger effect on the oceans.

According to NASA, spotting a blue moon or super moon is relatively common a few times each year, whereas, a super blue moon, where both phenomena coincide, only happens roughly once in a decade. The subsequent super blue moon is not anticipated until January 2037, underscoring the significance of this upcoming event.

Paul Dorian

2023-08-30 18:14:51

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