The next blue supermoon won't occur until 2037.
(CHICAGO) The second supermoon of August will occur this Wednesday. The rare blue supermoon will rise at 7:42 PM and peak at 8:36 PM in Chicago on Wednesday, August 30th.
Although it peaks for just a minute, the moon will likely appear full for several days.
A supermoon, blue moon, and full moon
This Wednesday's moon has three labels. It's a full moon, a supermoon, and a blue moon. But what exactly does that mean and will we see something spectacular when it rises? Read on to find out.
What is a blue moon?
Although it's called a blue moon, don't expect the moon to actually be blue. A blue moon refers to the second full moon in the calendar month, not the color of the moon.
The moon can turn blue if the atmospheric conditions are right. According to NASA,
"On rare occasions, tiny particles in the air ― typically of smoke or dust ― can scatter away red wavelengths of light, causing the Moon to appear blue."
What is a supermoon?
A supermoon is when a full moon's orbit gets closer to Earth than usual, causing it to appear bigger and brighter in the sky. This is known as "perigee."
Why is this blue supermoon rare?
NASA explains that 25% of full moons are supermoons, but only 3% of full moons are blue moons. Super blue moons appear about every 10 years. The next super blue moon won't happen until 2037.
Be sure to look for Saturn
While you're outside looking at the sky, don't forget to check out Saturn. According to Chicago's Adler Planetarium, Saturn was its brightest on August 27th. The planet can be seen to the upper right of Wednesday's full moon. You can even see its rings if you use high-powered binoculars or a small telescope.
What's up for next month?
The next full moon will be the Harvest Moon on September 29th. Also, next month is the phenomenon known as Chicagohenge happening from September 20th through the 23rd. According to the planetarium, Chicago streets are built on a grid system, "that is aligned with the compass, on the equinox, we can see the Sun rise and set perfectly down our streets."
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