On July 13, a plane passed before the full moon in Milwaukee. The moon’s orbit brings it closer to Earth than usual. This cosmic combination is called a supermoon. There will be another supermoon on Thursday night. (Murray Gash, Associated Press)
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ATLANTA — Tonight’s sturgeon supermoon can have you dancing in the moonlight — a type that only happens three or four times a year.
Named for the sturgeon that is easier to catch in the Great Lakes and other bodies of water at this time of year, according to The Old Farmer, named after the Native American Algonquin tribe, the sturgeon moon ends a four-year run that begins in May 2022. Supermoon series. Almanac. After sunset, look southeast to watch this supermoon rise. It will reach peak lighting on Thursday night.
“At certain times of the year, the moon is closest to Earth, and these are called supermoons,” Mike Hankey, operations manager for the American Meteor Society, said via email. “It’s just a natural point in the moon’s orbit. At each extreme, the moon is either a little bigger or a little smaller (at its farthest point), but it’s not that different.”
This closest distance, called perigee, is only about 226,000 miles from Earth, according to NASA. That’s why supermoons also appear slightly brighter than regular full moons. According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, the moon’s distance from the Earth changes throughout the month because its orbit is not a perfect circle.
If you take a cool photo of a supermoon, you can share it on social media using the hashtag #NASAMoonSnap — a term NASA uses to track moon-inspired content that led to the late summer launch of Artemis One , which was the first test flight of the rocket and spacecraft that will send future astronauts to the moon, according to NASA’s Tumblr. The agency has shared guidelines for photographing the moon and will share some user content on its social media platforms during the launch.
The Sturgeon Moon will be the focal point of the Perseid meteor shower, which peaks Thursday through Saturday.
“Bright moons are bad for meteor showers because they wash away fainter meteors,” Hankey said. “A full or nearly full moon occupies a portion of the sky, making that part unsuitable for meteor viewing. A full moon also lasts through the night and doesn’t leave a few hours of complete darkness, which is preferred.”
The Perseid meteor shower lasts from July 14 to September 1, and this year’s barely visible peak will occur at 9 p.m. MDT on Friday, EarthSky reported. For the past few years, the Perseid meteor shower has been a highly anticipated meteor shower in the Northern Hemisphere, where it’s usually more visible. But that’s only when the moon isn’t dominating the sky.
This year, the Perseid meteor shower has gradually increased in number from evening to dawn, and is more pronounced in early August when the moon appears smaller and dimmer. In previous years, they were most visible in a barely moonless sky.
According to NASA, debris from the meteor shower came from comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle, which takes 133 years to orbit the sun. The comet last entered the inner solar system in 1992.
Remaining space events in 2022
According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, there will be four more full moons this year:
- September 10: Harvest Moon
- Oak. 9: Hunter’s Moon
- November 8: Beaver Moon
- December 7: Cold Moon
Other Native American tribes have different names for the full moon, such as the Cheyenne “hay moon” for the September full moon, and the Arapaho “pop tree” for the December full moon.
Catch the peak of these upcoming meteor showers later in the year, according to EarthSky’s 2022 meteor shower guide:
- Draco: October 8-9
- Orion: October 20-21
- South Taurus: November 5
- Northern Taurus: November 12
- Leonids: November 17-18
- Gemini: December 13-14
- Bears: December 22-23
There will also be a total lunar eclipse and a partial solar eclipse in 2022, according to The Old Farmer’s Almanac. The partial solar eclipse on October 25 will be visible to people in Greenland, Iceland, Europe, Northeast Africa, the Middle East, West Asia, India and western China.
The total lunar eclipse on November 8 can be seen in Asia, Australia, the Pacific, South America and North America between 1:01am and 6:58am MT. But for those in eastern North America, the moon will be setting during that time.
Wear proper eclipse glasses to watch the eclipse safely, as the sun’s rays can damage the eyes.