(RepublicanJournal.org) – A rare lunar event on Wednesday, August 30, marks a spectacle that often shows up only once a generation. A blue supermoon, the combination of a blue moon and a supermoon, last graced the earth in 2009. This year’s event peaks at 7:36 p.m. MDT.
Supermoons are the result of our lunar neighbor’s oval-shaped orbit around the earth, explains NASA. The elongated path creates spots when the moon is closer, or farther, than usual. A full moon that occurs when it’s at its farthest point from Earth, about 405,500 kilometers away, is called a micromoon. It appears slightly smaller than it does the rest of the cycle.
When the full moon comes while it’s at its closest point, averaging about 363,300 kilometers away, we see a supermoon. These displays appear about 14% larger and 30% brighter than micromoons. This year’s supermoon will come at about 363,711 kilometers away and appear roughly 7% larger than a typical full moon.
Blue moons are all about timing. They can result from either two full moons occurring within the same month or four full moons coming within the span of one season (which usually only has three full moons). This year’s blue moon will come in the form of a second full display in August. Making it even rarer, it will also be a supermoon — making it a blue supermoon. The next such event will take place in 2037.
NASA notes that blue moons are rarely actually blue. The name refers to a span of time rather than a visible color, with rare occurrences often referenced as happening “once in a blue moon.” However, smoke or dust particles in the air can sometimes block out red wavelengths in the atmosphere, making the heavenly body truly appear to be blue.
Other “colorful” full lunar events include strawberry moons, which occur during strawberry harvests; pink moons, which take place during spring; and black moons, which come whenever there is a rare, second new moon within a single month.
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