June 2, 2023

Are you ready for the final “supermoon” of 2022?

While its name may be the oddest of all the full moons, there are some good reasons to see our moon appear on the eastern horizon. Not only will it be draped in a gorgeous orange hue — like every rising moon seen on the horizon — but the full “sturgeon moon” also happens to be the last supermoon of 2022.

It’s the third or second supermoon of the year, depending on the definition of supermoon you’re using. Either way, it will be the second-largest full moon of the year, as it is 100% illuminated by the sun in less than 10 hours at the closest point to Earth in its monthly orbit.

Here’s everything you need to know about the full Sturgeon Moon, including exactly when, where and how to see it’s biggest, brightest and best from your location:

When is “Sturgeon Moon”?

The full “Sturgeon Supermoon” will take place on Thursday/Friday, August 11/12, 2022, depending on your location. North America is August 11th, while Europe is early August 12th.

Why you should catch a ‘sturgeon supermoon’ at moonrise

The full moon is always best seen when it is rising. Only on full moon nights is it possible to see the moon on the horizon at dusk. Since it rises about 50 minutes later each night, it rises in the evening before the full moon and in the evening after the full moon.

The full moon looks best at moonrise because you see it at twilight. It’s the only day and night of the month when the moon rises shortly after sunset. You’re there to see the moon in twilight and your surroundings are still visible. That’s why it can easily take photos of the rising full moon, while still capturing the landscape around it. This is not possible any other night of the year.

Why Europe will see two ‘full moon’ rises this month

Because the full moon occurs after midnight in Europe, the full moon can be seen rising after sunset both before and after sunset. Everything is in balance, which means there are two chances to see a near-full moon over the horizon at dusk.

What is a “supermoon”?

A supermoon is a full moon that occurs near the moon perigee— the closest point in space to Earth in lunar orbit — which would make the moon appear a few percent larger than average. Even more striking is its extra brightness after liftoff.

What is the “Lunar Illusion”?

The night of the full moon is the only time you see a disc in its environment every month. This is important because when your brain sees the moon next to trees, buildings or mountains, it compares it to their size. What happens is your brain makes the full moon appear bigger than it actually is. This is called the “lunar illusion,” and it only really happens when you see the full moon on the horizon. To do this, you have to time precisely.

Best time to see the ‘Sturgeon Supermoon’

Here’s the exact time to see August’s ‘Sturgeon Supermoon’ from a few major cities, but be sure to check it out Moonrise and Moonset for your location. If you don’t see the full moon above the horizon at these times – low clouds and horizon haze mean you’ll have to wait a few minutes.

Thursday, August 11, 2022 After sunset

Thursday night is the best chance to watch the full “Sturgeon Supermoon” rise into the twilight sky:

  • In New York, sunset is 8:01pm ET and moonrise is 8:19pm ET (full moon is 8:37pm ET — So New Yorkers can easily see it at the moment of the full moon!).
  • In Los Angeles, sunset is 7:45pm PDT and moonrise is 8:05pm PDT (full moon is 5:37pm PDT).
  • In London, sunset is 8:32pm BST and moonrise is 8:55pm BST

Friday, August 12, 2022 After sunset

Friday night offered another chance to see the full “Sturgeon Supermoon” rise into the dusk sky, but only in Europe:

  • In London, sunset is 8:30pm BST, while moonrise is 9:19pm BST (full moon is 1:37am BST).

Where to see the ‘Sturgeon Supermoon’

Look east. Bring yourself to a viewing position with a clear view low on the eastern horizon. The full moon always rises in the east at dusk (as opposed to sunset) and sets in the west the next morning (as opposed to sunrise).

How to see the ‘Sturgeon Supermoon’

The first full moon of summer in the northern hemisphere, the “sturgeon moon” will rise in the east after sunset, shine throughout the night, and then set in the west close to sunrise.

You don’t need any special equipment to see the full moon – your own naked eye is perfect. But if you do have a pair of binoculars, get them ready for stunning close-ups.

Why does the rising full moon look orange?

A rising full moon looks orange because you’re watching it through a lot of atmosphere (like a sunset). The physics at play is Raleigh scattering, where long-wavelength red light travels more easily through the thickest part of Earth’s atmosphere than short-wavelength blue light, which hits more particles and gets scattered.

May you have a clear sky and open your eyes.

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