Tag Archives: super moon

13 full moons, 2 supermoons & Blue moon to be expected in 2020

Sky watchers may have gotten a little spoiled in 2019, with three consecutive “supermoons” appearing during the first three months of the year. Will 2020 be as good?

Astronomy experts say two supermoons will be shining in the sky this year, and one month — October — will have two full moons, making the second a “blue moon” that will be glowing on Halloween. How’s that for an eerie treat?

Although blue moons occur once every two or three years, they are even more rare on Halloween, says AccuWeather meteorologist Brian Lada. “After the blue moon on Oct. 31, 2020, trick-or-treaters will need to wait until 2039 to see the next blue moon on Halloween,” he noted.

Supermoons coming in 2020

Pixabay

Experts say two supermoons and one blue moon will be shining in the sky in 2020.

What is a supermoon?

Supermoons are moons that become full when their orbits are closer than average to the Earth — making them appear to be slightly bigger and as much as 30% brighter than ordinary full moons.

Although the precise definition varies in the astronomy world — and some experts say the average star gazer won’t notice the size and brightness difference — most say a supermoon is a moon that tracks less than 223,000 miles from the Earth during its full phase. (Some say any full moon that is 226,000 miles or closer to the Earth can be classified as a supermoon, and others set the cutoff at the precise distance of 223,694 miles.)

Regardless of the exact definition, astronomy websites seem to agree that 2020 will feature at least two supermoons — one on March 9 and another on April 7. Worth marking down on your calendar: Space.com says the April full moon will be the biggest of the year, because it will be the closest one to our planet.

Supermoons coming in 2020

Courtesy of Teri Abramson

Experts say two supermoons and one blue moon will be shining in the sky in 2020. Pictured is a supermoon that was rising above houses in Ocean County in 2016.

Dates of each full moon in 2020

In case you want to do some sky watching or photo snapping, here’s a list of the dates and times of each full moon in 2020, along with their most common nicknames. (Thanks to the Farmers’ Almanac, the Old Farmer’s Almanac and TimeAndDate.com for the details.)

Super Moons and Meteor Shower

SAN FRANCISCO – Aug. 10 brings the start of the “Old Faithful” of meteor showers, the Perseids, as well as a super moon.

The prolific Perseids show up once a year, in August, filling the night sky with as many as 80 shooting stars an hour. This year’s show coincides with the arrival of a super moon, which occurs when the Earth and moon are at their closest.

Super moons bring with them 30% more light. That’s a problem as it makes the meteors less visible.

Still, the two events together make this a good few days to spend some time outside at night, says Ben Burress, an astronomer with the Chabot Space and Science Center in Oakland.

The shower’s peak will come in the hours before dawn Aug. 11-13, Burress, an astronomer with the Chabot Space and Science Center in Oakland, Calif..

“If people want to catch them, the early morning hours before dawn on Aug. 11, 12 and 13 are all fair game,” said Burress.

Look in the constellation Perseus, which is just to the left of the Pleiades, the Seven Sisters constellation, in the northeastern portion of the sky.

Normally, a bright moon would dim the visibility of meteors, but the Perseids have bright meteors, so “it’s not a complete washout,” Burress says. “But it won’t be nearly as good as it would if the moon wasn’t up.”

Another option is to look as night falls, when the moon is low in the east, according to Alan MacRobert, senior editor at Sky & Telescope magazine.

If you’re lucky, you might see some Earth-grazing Perseids. These are unusually long and graceful meteors, less frequent but quite lovely.

This year’s Perseid shower won’t be the wild, showy 80 meteors per hour that can happen when they arrive during moonless nights. Even so, a shooting star or two reminds us that looking heavenward is always rewarding.

And if you don’t see a meteor, you’ll still get to see a super moon which makes it is well worth going outside.

Astronomers call these “perigee full moons,” though in the past few years, they’ve taken on the popular name “super moons,” according to EarthSky.com.

Super moons occur when a full moon and the Earth are closest in their orbits.

The moon will be 190,000 miles from the Earth, 20% closer than its farthest point, when it is 240,000 miles away.

“That means it’s maybe 10% to 15% larger on average than a full moon and about 30% brighter,” Burress says.

The moon’s closeness isn’t just something to look up for. It also brings extra high and low tides, which make it a great time for beachcombing.