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A big, gleaming 'super blue moon' will rise today. Here's how to see it

The lunar event that will occur on Wednesday won't happen again for many years

blue super moon 2023

BS Web Team New Delhi

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Attention all skygazers! The "once in a blue moon" event will take place this week, so those who want to see this rare event should keep an eye out for August 30. 

The expression "once in a blue moon" alludes to a genuine lunar occurrence. And, as the expression implies, they are in fact, rare. The lunar event on Wednesday won't happen again for many years. 

And, though the "blue moon" is not literally blue, the term can be misleading. The Moon will appear orange in colour. When the four-part supermoon series ends that night, the super blue moon will be the third-largest Moon to have appeared this year. It does indeed sound intriguing, but what exactly is it? 

Here's all you need to know about the rare super blue moon event.

What is a blue moon?

A blue moon is the second full Moon in a month. Full moons usually occur once a month (every 30 days or so), but when there is a blue moon, it occurs twice. 

There are two types of blue moon, but unfortunately, neither has anything to do with hue.

Seasonal blue moon and monthly blue moon

According to National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa), a seasonal blue moon is the third full moon in a season with four full moons, which is the traditional definition of a blue moon.

A monthly blue moon, on the other hand, refers to the second full moon that occurs within a single calendar month and was created due to a misunderstanding of the first meaning.

The monthly blue moon is now considered to be the second definition of a blue moon rather than being incorrect, according to Time and Date. 

Since moon phases last 29.5 days on average, 12 lunar cycles can really be completed in 354 days. Thus, a 13th full moon is visible once every 2.5 years or so in a given year. This 13th full moon does not follow the standard naming conventions and is referred to as the blue moon.

Why is it called a super blue moon?

The third and last full moon of summer in the Northern Hemisphere will be a "super blue moon" since it will be the second full moon in a calendar month, according to the Moon's 29-day orbit of the Earth, making it a supermoon. 

On average, supermoons are 16 per cent brighter than regular moons. They also appear larger than a usual full moon. It is comparable to the size difference between a quarter and a nickel, according to Nasa. 

The phenomenon takes place when the Moon is full and its orbit is closest to the Earth.

When to watch the blue Moon in India?

The blue moon will achieve peak brightness at around 9:30 pm (Indian time) on Wednesday, while blue super moon will reach its zenith around 7:30 am on Thursday (August 31).

What is the best time to see the super blue Moon around the world?

It is advised to view a full moon when it rises just after sunset during the hours of dusk for the best viewing experience. On August 30, at precisely 8:37 pm Eastern Daylight Time (EDT), the super blue Moon will reach its maximum brightness. 

The moonrise, especially in twilight hours, coincides with the best evening time for moon-watching. 

European viewers are in for a special treat since Thursday offers an additional night to see the moon rise, slightly later than Wednesday.

How rare is a blue supermoon?

According to Nasa, blue supermoons are a very rare phenomenon. 

It states that these moons often only appear once every 10 years due to astronomical conditions. But occasionally, the interval between blue supermoons can be as long as 20 years. 

While blue moons only account for 3 per cent of full moons, supermoons account for around 25 per cent of all full moons. Although the interval between super blue moons is highly erratic—it can be as long as 20 years—the average is often 10 years. 

When is the next super blue moon?

According to Nasa, the next rare phenomenon will occur in January 2037, followed by another one in March 2037.

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First Published: Aug 30 2023 | 2:02 PM IST

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