Supermoon to show up in Florida, twice this August

This August, skywatchers will be treated to not one, but two supermoons.

A supermoon occurs when the full or new moon comes closest to our spherical Earth (also known as perigee). As a result, it will look larger in the Sunshine State’s sky.

“When a full moon or new moon coincides with perigee, it is known as a supermoon. Note that supermoon is not an official astronomical term but was coined by an astrologer in the late 1970s,” Dr. Simon Schuler of the University of Tampa explained.

A supermoon does not happen all the time due to Earth’s lunar sister having an ellipse or oval orbit, stated Schuler.

So at certain times, the moon is close to Earth in its orbit (supermoon) and at other times it is far away as it goes around our planet, called apogee, explained Schuler. 

For Tuesday’s supermoon, the moon will be about 222,200 miles/357,587 kilometers from Earth.

And at the end of the month, the second supermoon will be even closer at about 221,900 miles/357,183 kilometers.

The moon’s average distance from the Earth is 238,900 miles/384,472 kilometers.

In addition, the Aug. 30’s supermoon will be known as a blue moon; a blue moon is a full moon that happens twice in a month.

Citing TimeAndDate.com, Schuler said the next supermoon is in 2024, followed by another one in 2025. He added that there are two to four a year.

Depending on where you live in the Sunshine State, the location and weather will vary to view Tuesday’s supermoon.

If you live on the Tampa side of the state, Tuesday evening after sunset, the skies will be partly cloudy with some lingering showers possible at inland locations.

Over in the Central Florida side, any storms on Tuesday should be done by sunset.

The moon will likely be highly visible anywhere in Central Florida. But, it is always better to view the nighttime sky away from city lights.

But, a supermoon provides lots of light anyway so even in the city, it should be fairly vibrant. The later in the evening or into the wee hours of the morning will have the best chance for clearer skies.

Schuler, the chair of physics and astronomy at the University of Tampa, shared the next big celestial events to look out for.

“Other events to keep an eye on this year are the Perseid meteor shower, which is visible now but peaks in mid-August, and an annular solar eclipse, which is an eclipse when the moon is near apogee and thus does not block out the whole sun.”

“Here in Florida, we will be able to see a partial solar eclipse with about 60% of the sun blocked by the moon. Those are the two best astronomical events left in 2023,” he said.

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