A full ‘Sturgeon Supermoon’ will rise this week. Here’s exactly when to see it at its best where you are

Are you ready for the last “supermoon” in 2022?

Although it may have the strangest name for a full moon, there are some good reasons to see our satellite appear on the eastern horizon. Not only will it be draped in gorgeous orange hues — like every rising moon when seen on the horizon — but the full “Sturgeon Moon” also happens to be the last supermoon of 2022.

Depending on which definition of supermoon you use, it is either the third or second supermoon of the year. Regardless, it will be the second largest full moon of the year, thanks to it being 100% illuminated by the Sun less than 10 hours after it is closest to Earth in its monthly orbit.

Here’s everything you need to know about the entire ‘Sturgeon Moon’, including exactly when, where and how to see it at its biggest, brightest and best from where you are:

When is the ‘Sturgeon Moon?’

The full “Sturgeon Supermoon” will take place on Thursday/Friday August 11/12, 2022 depending on where you are. For North America it is August 11, while for Europe it is early August 12.

Why Catch “Sturgeon Supermoon” as Moonrise

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

The full moon looks best that moonrise because you see it at dusk. This is the only day-night of the month when the moon will rise shortly after sunset. You’re there to watch the moon at dusk, with your surroundings still visible. This is why it can easily capture a picture of the rising full moon while capturing the landscape around it. It’s just not possible on any other night of the year.

Why Europe is getting two ‘full moon rises’ this month

Since the full moon occurs just after midnight in Europe both the night before and after sees the full moon rise just after sunset. Everything is balanced, which means two chances to see an almost full moon appear on the horizon at dusk.

What is a “supermoon?”

A supermoon is a full moon that occurs near the moon perigee— the point in space when it is closest to Earth in its monthly orbit — that will make the moon appear a few percent larger than average. More noticeable is its extra brightness when it has risen high into the sky.

What is the ‘moon illusion?’

Full Moon night is the only time of the month you get to see the disc in context with the environment. That’s important because when your brain sees the Moon next to trees, buildings, or mountains, it compares it to them in terms of size. What happens is that your brain makes the full moon look bigger than it actually is. This is called the “moon illusion” and it only happens when you see the full moon on the horizon. To do that, you need to get the timing right.

Best Time to See the “Sturgeon Supermoon”

Here are the exact times to see August’s “Sturgeon Supermoon” from a few key cities, but check the exact moonrise and moonset times for your location. If you don’t see the full moon peeking over the horizon at these exact times – low cloud and horizon haze means you’ll have to wait a few minutes.

Just after sunset on Thursday 11 August 2022

Thursday night offers the best opportunity to see the full “Sturgeon Supermoon” rise in a twilight sky:

  • In New York, sunset is at 8:01 PM EDT and moonrise is at 8:19 PM EDT (moment of full moon is 8:37 PM EDT — so New Yorkers will easily see it at the exact moment of full moon!).
  • In Los Angeles, sunset is at 7:45 PM PDT and moonrise is at 8:05 PM PDT (moment of full moon is at 5:37 PM PDT).
  • In London, sunset is at 20:32 BST and moonrise is at 20:55 BST

Just after sunset on Friday the 12th. August 2022

Friday night offers another opportunity to see the full “Sturgeon Supermoon” rise in a twilight sky, but only from Europe:

  • In London, sunset is at 20:30 BST and moonrise is at 21:19 BST (moment of full moon is 01:37 BST).

Where to see the “Sturgeon Supermoon”

Look east. Get to an observation point that has a clear unobstructed view low to the eastern horizon. The full moon always rises in the east at dusk (toward a sunset, or thereabouts) and sets in the west the next morning (toward a sunrise).

How to see the “Sturgeon Supermoon”

The first full moon of the Northern Hemisphere’s summer season, the “Sturgeon Moon” will rise in the east just after sunset, shine brightly throughout the night, and then set in the west near sunrise.

You don’t need any special equipment to see a full moon – your own eyes are perfect. But if you have binoculars, get them ready for a fantastic close-up.

Why does a rising full moon look orange?

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

Wishing you clear skies and big eyes.

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