The Spectacular Supermoon: A Dazzling Display in the Night Sky

The Spectacular Supermoon: A Dazzling Display in the Night Sky

The night of August 2, 2023, was not just another ordinary night. It was a night that brought a celestial spectacle to millions of people around the globe. The full moon, closer to Earth than usual at a mere 222,159 miles away, shone bigger and brighter in the night sky. This phenomenon, known as a supermoon, occurs when the moon is within 90% of perigee, its closest approach to Earth.

The Supermoon Phenomenon

The term "supermoon" was coined in 1979 and refers to either a new or full moon that occurs when the moon is within 90% of perigee. This means the moon is closer to Earth than usual, making it appear larger and brighter in the night sky. The supermoon phenomenon is not just a visual treat; it also provides an opportunity for scientists to study the lunar surface in greater detail.

The sturgeon supermoon rising behind the Sirente Mountain in Sirente Velino Natural Park, Italy, on Monday. Lorenzo di Cola / NurPhoto via Getty Images

Capturing the Supermoon Around the Globe

Photographers and astronomy enthusiasts from every corner of the globe seized the opportunity to capture the lunar spectacle. From the supermoon rising behind the Sirente Mountain in Italy's Sirente Velino Natural Park to its majestic appearance over the iconic Hagia Sophia grand mosque in Istanbul, the supermoon presented a breathtaking view. In the bustling city of New York, the supermoon added a magical touch to the towering skyline, creating a perfect backdrop for stunning photographs.

A supermoon rises over a tower in Jiujiang, China, on Tuesday. VCG via Getty Images

The Sturgeon Moon: A Cultural Perspective

In North America, the August full moon carries a special name - the "sturgeon moon." This name, popularized by the Maine Farmer’s Almanac, originates from the Algonquin tribes in the northeastern United States. The tribes named it the Sturgeon Moon as this was the time of year when the large fish were more easily caught in the Great Lakes and other major bodies of water. This cultural perspective adds a layer of depth to our understanding of the supermoon phenomenon.

The sturgeon supermoon over the Hagia Sophia grand mosque in Istanbul early Wednesday. Yasin Akgul / AFP - Getty Images

Another Supermoon on the Horizon

But the celestial show isn't over yet. Another supermoon is set to grace the night sky later this month on August 30, when the moon will be even closer to Earth at just 222,043 miles away. This occurrence of two full supermoons in the same month is a rare event, with the last instance recorded in 2018 and the next expected in 2037.

The supermoon rises over New York City on Tuesday.Fatih Atkas / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Conclusion: A Celestial Spectacle to Remember

So, mark your calendars and prepare your cameras for the end-of-the-month supermoon. Whether you're an avid stargazer, a professional photographer, or just someone who appreciates the beauty of nature, the supermoon is a lunar spectacle you won't want to miss!