August supermoons: Everything you need to know

By AG STAFF/AAP 1 August 2023
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The cosmos is offering up a double feature in August: a pair of supermoons.

Moon gazers are in for a treat this month, with two supermoons coupled with a blue moon.

1 August: supermoon

A supermoon (or perigee) is when a full moon appears larger and brighter than usual.

This happens when the full moon occurs at the same time the moon’s elliptical orbit is at its closest point to Earth. 

On 1 August, the moon’s closest approach to the Earth will be at 4.32am Wednesday (AEST).

The Moon’s 27-day orbit around the Earth is not perfectly circular, so its apparent size in the night sky varies. Left: The moon near its closest point to Earth. Right: The moon near its farthest point from Earth. Image credit: NASA LandSat 8 / USGS

31 August: supermoon + blue moon

“We’ve all heard the phrase ‘Once in a blue moon’. This name is given to a second full moon in any month,” says astronomy expert Glenn Dawes.

“It happens every two to three years.”

August’s second full moon (blue moon) will occur on 31 August.

It will also be a supermoon, reaching its orbit’s closest proximity to the Earth at 3.36am (AEST).

Related: How to shoot the Moon

The Australian Geographic shop has a range of telescopes and accessories to help you capture August’s sky spectacles with a range of options for all budgets.