August Full Moon 2023: When is the full moon, what does the Sturgeon Moon mean and will it be a supermoon?

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August will welcome in a new full moon, known as the Sturgeon Moon - here’s everything you need to know

As we draw closer to August, stargazers across the UK will be preparing to catch a glimpse of the ‘Sturgeon Moon’. This will be the eighth full moon of the year.

The Moon appears as different shapes in the sky depending on its ‘phase’, from new Moon to full Moon via ‘waxing’ (growing) and ‘waning’ (shrinking) moons. These phases are determined by the relative positions of the Sun, Earth and Moon.

August will be even more special for stagazers as it will have not one but two full moons. Later in the month the second full moon, known as a Blue Moon, will peak on Wednesday August 30, and will be a supermoon.

Royal Museums Greenwich explains where the name for the Sturgeon Moon comes from. They say: “North American fishing tribes called August’s full moon the Sturgeon Moon since the species appeared in number during this month. It’s also been called the green corn moon, the grain moon, and the red moon for the reddish hue it often takes on in the summer haze.

So, when will you be able to see the Sturgeon Moon? Here’s everything you need to know about the celestial event.

When is the next full moon?

The next full moon will peak in the UK on August 1, and is sometimes known as a ‘Sturgeon Moon’. The Old Farmer’s Almanac said there will be 13 full moons throughout the year. These are listed below.

  • January 6: Wolf moon
  • February 5: Snow moon
  • March 7: Worm moon
  • April 6: Pink moon
  • May 5: Flower moon
  • June 3: Strawberry moon
  • July 3: Buck moon
  • August 1: Sturgeon moon
  • August 30: Blue moon
  • September 29: Harvest moon
  • October 28: Hunter’s moon
  • November 27: Beaver moon
  • December 26: Cold moon

Will the Sturgeon Moon be a supermoon?

This year’s Sturgeon moon will be a supermoon. Royal Museums Greenwich explains how a supermoon comes to be, saying: “The distance between the Moon and the Earth varies, because the Earth is not right at the centre of the Moon’s orbit and the Moon’s orbit is not a circle (it’s an ellipse). The moment when the Moon is closest to the Earth is called a lunar perigee.

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“When the Moon is furthest away it is known as a lunar apogee. If the lunar perigee occurs very close to a full moon, then we see a supermoon. If a lunar apogee occurs very close to a full moon then we see a micromoon.”

Top Stargazing Tips

Stargazing is easy, you just go outside and look up at the night sky, but to get the most spectacular views, there are a few rules you should follow. The best tip is finding a dark-sky site, and checking the weather forecast before going. Light pollution can often affect how much of the night sky occurrences we see, even more so, cloudy weather conditions make it more difficult to see the stars beyond.

If you are unable to get to a designated dark-sky site, find the least illuminated spot you can where you can see the horizon. Stargazing is such a popular hobby for amateurs and professionals alike, it’s likely there is a club near you, or you may have friends with a similar interest. Finding a buddy or club to join on the cold dark nights is always helpful, and one of the best ways to stay safe when stargazing.

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