August is kicking off with a celestial treat that promises to light up the night sky. Tonight, August 1st, a brilliant full supermoon will grace the skies, and it's one of the two brightest supermoons of the year according to NASA. The stage is set here in Colorado, and we're all eager to witness this fascinating phenomenon.
NASA image showing comparison of a supermoon (left) and a micromoon (right)
What is a Super Moon, Anyway?
The concept of a "super moon" might remind us of the significant contributions made by astronomer Johann Kepler in 1609. By refining the Sun-centered (heliocentric) solar system model, Kepler mathematically demonstrated that planets, including Earth, orbit the Sun in ellipses rather than perfect circles.
This elliptical path means that our distance from celestial bodies like the Sun and the Moon varies at different points in our orbit. A supermoon occurs when the Moon is at the point in its elliptical orbit that brings it closest to Earth. This closer proximity causes the Moon to appear larger and more luminous than a regular full Moon.
For those in Colorado's Mountain Time zone, the peak illumination of tonight's supermoon will be at 12:32 p.m. While it might be hyped as a big deal, it's worth noting that the differences between a supermoon and a regular full Moon might not be that stark to the naked eye.
Tonight's Super Moon and What to Expect
Known as the Sturgeon Moon, tonight's full supermoon is named for the time of year when the giant sturgeon fish was once abundant in the Great Lakes. It's one of the brightest supermoons of 2023 and heralds the start of a remarkable month for stargazing.
Though it's talked up in the media as being a significant event, the difference between the supermoon and a normal moon might not be instantly recognizable. It’s much like a "super-er Moon," a term coined to emphasize that the spectacle might be more subtle than sensational.
Mark Your Calendars: A Double Feature
August is delivering not one but two supermoons. The second will occur on Wednesday, August 30, and it's already touted as the 2023 supermoon showstopper. This Blue Moon, referred to as the second full moon in a calendar month, will be the closest, biggest, and brightest moon to Earth this year.
Join Us Under the Stars
AstroTours invites you to join us in experiencing the supermoon magic. Whether you're an avid astronomer or a curious skygazer, there's something captivating about the night sky that draws us all in.
As we welcome August with the brilliance of the supermoon, we're reminded once again of the incredible cosmos and our place within it. Here's to clear skies and a moonlit night that inspires wonder.
Grab your telescope, gather your friends and family, and let's explore the cosmos together. Happy supermoon watching! 🌕
Book a tour with AstroTours and don't miss out on the celestial events that this exciting month has to offer.