Supermoon_2023_rivantosh edupedia

Tonight’s sky will be illuminated by a rocket launch and the first supermoon of the month

Last Updated: 2 August 2023By

Supermoon: What is it, and how can I see it?

Right now, many people around the world are witnessing a larger and brighter moon than usual, provided the sky is clear enough to observe it. A supermoon occurs when the moon is closest to the Earth in its orbit. This month, it is called the Sturgeon Moon – named after an increase in sturgeon fish sightings in North American lakes during this time of year. For those of us in Britain, will the rain hold off for an extended period? Read our guide to find out the best way to observe it.

How to see the Supermoon

Professor Catherine Hemains of the University of Edinburgh’s astronomy suggests that people look towards the horizon immediately after sunset. The Sturgeon Moon rises on August 1, but it will still appear full for the next few nights. However, according to Dr. Greg Brown of the Royal Observatory Greenwich, the moon will technically be full at 19:31 BST, but viewers in the UK won’t be able to see it until it rises above the horizon at 21:22 BST. Dr. Brown said that before it becomes fully illuminated at 05:42 BST tomorrow morning, it will remain distinguishable from a full moon throughout the night.

“While a clear, low horizon in the southeast will help you to spot it soon after sunset, it will rise swiftly in the sky, making it visible from anywhere in the country practically all night long.”

“Due to its brilliance in the night sky, there should be no problem spotting it, whether you’re in a brightly lit city or a dark rural area. You won’t need any equipment to view it, although a pair of binoculars or a small telescope can enhance its features and reveal its surface more clearly,” he added. Will clouds spoil the fun in Britain? Possibly – according to BBC Weather, the evening’s cloud cover may make it difficult to catch a glimpse, with the risk of showers and cloud bringing rain from the west.


Parts of northern mainland Scotland should experience clear weather all night, which means there’s a good chance of seeing the supermoon there. Check the forecast for your area here. In northern Wales, the Midlands, northern England, and eastern England, some clouds may disperse before rain arrives later in the night. After this spell of rain, there may be a return of some cloud breakups in southwest and southeast Wales just before the moon sets.

However, Don Pollaco, a physicist at Warwick University, said that the moon will be so bright that it can be seen even when it’s not completely dark or when the weather is especially clear.

What causes the Supermoon?

lunar phase _RE

The moon orbits Earth in an elliptical shape rather than a perfect circle, which means it can be thousands of kilometers closer to us at certain times. A supermoon occurs when the moon is closest to the Earth. It is also known as a perigee moon. During perigee, the full moon appears about 14% larger and 30% brighter compared to when it is farthest from Earth. Our last supermoon of 2023 will be on September 29, which will be known as the Harvest Moon, occurring only once every four years.

Different cultures around the world describe the full moon of each month with different names, describing events or occurrences happening during that time.

What is a Blue Moon?

blue moon

Following tonight’s Sturgeon supermoon, there will be a rare Blue Moon on August 30. A Blue Moon is the second full moon within a calendar month and occurs every two to three years – or once in a Blue Moon.