Sturgeon Supermoon + Perseid, Mercury, Saturn, Jupiter, and Vega meteor shower

Supermoon rises behind Washington Monument Crop

A supermoon rises behind the Washington Monument, Sunday, June 23, 2013, in Washington. Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

The next full moon is a fringe supermoon and is called the Sturgeon Moon. It is also known as Green Corn Moon, Raksha Bandhan Festival Moon, Nikini Poya, Esala Perahera Festival End, and Tu B’Av Holiday Moon.

The next full moon will be on Thursday evening, August 11, 2022, appearing opposite the Sun in Earth longitude at 9:36 p.m. EDT (6:36 p.m. PDT). This will be Friday morning for time zones east of Cape Verde time, which includes Coordinated Universal Time ([{” attribute=””>UTC), the time zone used by most commercial calendars. The Moon will appear full for about three days from Wednesday morning through Saturday morning. The planet supermoon” was coined by astrologer Richard Nolle in 1979 as either a new or full moon that occurs when the Moon is within 90% of perigee, its closest approach to Earth. Since we can’t see new supermoons (except when the Moon passes in front of the Sun and causes an eclipse), what has caught the public’s attention are full supermoons, as these are the biggest and brightest full moons of the year. Since perigee varies with each orbit, different publications use different standards for deciding which full moons qualify. The full moons in June and July were closer.

The Moon and Calendars

In many traditional lunisolar and lunar calendars, full moons fall in the middle of the lunar months. This full moon is in the middle of the seventh month of the Chinese calendar and Av in the Hebrew calendar, corresponding with Tu B’Av, a holiday in modern Israel similar to Valentine’s Day. This full moon falls near the middle of Muharram in the Islamic calendar. Muharram is the first month of the Islamic year and one of the four sacred months during which warfare is forbidden.

For Science Fiction fans, a note on the author Theodore Sturgeon (in honor of the Sturgeon Moon). According to Wikipedia, Theodore Sturgeon wrote over 200 stories, mostly science fiction but some mystery and horror stories. For Star Trek fans, his scripts introduced important concepts into the series, although only two of his scripts were produced. His Star Trek scripts introduced “pon far,” the Vulcan hand symbol, the phrase “live long and prosper,” and (in a script that was not produced but that influenced later scripts) the “Prime Directive.”

As usual, the wearing of suitably celebratory celestial attire is encouraged in honor of the full moon. In addition, keep in touch with your siblings, avoid starting any wars, and consider reading some Theodore Sturgeon.

Full Moon Over Santa Clarita, California

The full moon over Santa Clarita, California, on July 13, 2022. Credit: NASA/Kevin Gill

Here is a summary of celestial events between now and the full moon after next (with times and angles based on the location of Perseid meteor shower is expected to peak late Friday night into early Saturday morning, August 12 to 13, 2022. Although the Perseids can be one of the major meteor showers of the year, in 2022 the nearly full moon will make it difficult to see these meteors. Should you look for these meteors, the best time will be after midnight on Saturday morning, you will need to be far from light pollution and other light sources and to find a place that has a clear view of a clear sky with no clouds or haze. You will need to look toward the north away from the light of the Moon. The other three meteor showers peaking during this lunar cycle are expected to peak at 3 to 6 meteors per hour at best (and fewer under urban viewing conditions).

Evening Sky Highlights

On the evening of Thursday, August 11, 2022, the day of the full moon, as evening twilight ends at 9:11 p.m. EDT, the rising Moon will appear 7 degrees above the east-southeastern horizon with the planet Saturn 6 degrees to the upper left of the Moon. The planet Mercury will have set about 4 minutes before but may be visible in the glow of dusk before it sets. The bright star appearing closest to directly overhead will be Vega at 76 degrees above the eastern horizon. Vega is the 5th brightest star in our night sky, about 25 light-years from Earth, twice the mass of, and 40 times brighter than our Sun.

As the lunar cycle progresses, Saturn and the background of stars will appear to shift westward each evening as Earth moves around the Sun. Saturn will be at its closest and brightest for the year on August 14, rising around sunset and setting around sunrise. Through much of August the planet Mercury will set just a few minutes before evening twilight ends but will be shifting to the left along the horizon farther from the Sun. This increases the chance Mercury will be visible in the glow of dusk. Toward the end of August Mercury will stop shifting away from the Sun, as it will reach its greatest separation from the Sun for this apparition on August 27, and will begin setting earlier each evening, making it harder to see. The waxing moon will pass near Mercury on August 29, the bright star Spica on August 30, the bright star Antares on September 3, and Saturn on September 7 and 8. Beginning around September 5, the bright planet

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