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Explained: All about the Super Blue Moon this week

The super blue moon phenomenon is set to take place on 31 August

A supermoon rises through clouds over the skyline of lower Manhattan on 1 August 2023. (AP)

By Team Lounge

LAST PUBLISHED 29.08.2023  |  06:10 PM IST

The super blue moon phenomenon is set to take place on 30 August. Despite the name, the moon will not be blue in colour but is likely to be a shade of orange. The last blue moon was visible in August 2021, as reported by Space.com.

The super blue moon brings together a supermoon—when the moon is closer than usual to the earth—and a blue moon—the second full moon in a month. On the night of 30 August, the super blue moon will be the third-largest moon visible this year. 

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Since the 1940s, the term "blue moon" has referred to the second full moon in a calendar month. This usually happens only every two-and-a-half years, according to Nasa.

Also read: Cosmic wonder as total lunar eclipse combines with supermoon

The super blue moon will rise around 8:37 p.m. Eastern Time (EDT) on Wednesday from the eastern horizon. Once it reaches the point at which it is 180 degrees from the sun, it will be a full moon appearing at its brightest, as reported by Space.com.

Full moons occur around 12.4 times a year, and this means every 2.8 years, there will be 13 full moons in a year. The extra moon is called a blue moon. A supermoon occurs when the moon's orbit is closest to the Earth and it is a full moon. This happens because the moon's orbit around our planet isn't circular, but rather elliptical. This orbit brings the moon closer to and farther from Earth as it goes around. The farthest point in this orbit is called the apogee and the closest point is the perigee. When a full moon appears at perigee, it is a little brighter and bigger than a regular full moon and hence, it is called a supermoon, as explained by Nasa. 

The average time between super blue moons is 10 years, but could often be as long as 20 years.

The super blue moon is also likely to appear brighter and bigger. It can be seen by the naked eye, but using binoculars can help in viewing it more clearly, as reported by Mint. For a good look at the moon, one could try watching the moon shortly after sunset. However, it is likely that most people might not observe any difference between this full moon and any other full moon.

Also read: Week in tech: Chandrayaan-3 on the Moon and Meta's new language AI model