Cuba, astronomy, sky, science and technology, Moon, NASA, National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Rare astronomical event in August: a blue moon

This month of August reserves us an extremely rare astronomical spectacle, since coupled with the occurrence of the unusual phenomenon of the blue moon, this will be accompanied by two supermoons.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) explain that the term blue moon has been used since the 1940s for the second full moon in a calendar month. This rare event typically comes only every two and a half years, "so when you hear someone say, 'Once in a blue moon...’ you know they're talking about something weird," the agency notes. It also clarifies that this does not mean that the Moon will appear blue.

On the night of August 1, our natural satellite will be in its full moon phase, but it will appear slightly brighter and larger than normal: a supermoon. This is because it will be near its perigee (closest point in its orbit around Earth) at only 357,793 kilometers (km).

Then, on the night of August 30, it will be in its full moon phase again and at a distance of 357,934 km (very close to its perigee), so the supermoon phenomenon will be repeated. For all of the above, the super moon on August 31 will be a blue moon.

An extremely rare sight

The last time two full super moons graced the sky in the same month occurred in January 2018. According to Italian astronomer Gianluca Masi, quoted by AP, this event in which two supermoons coincide with a blue moon will not happen again until 2037. 

Masi will provide a live webcast of the supermoon on the night of August 1, as it rises over the Colosseum in Rome. “My plans are to capture the beauty of this [...] I hope to bring the excitement of the show to our viewers,” he said.

"The supermoon offers us a great opportunity to look up and discover the sky," he added.

The mid-August supermoon is traditionally called the 'sturgeon' after the fish most caught in the North American Great Lakes and Lake Champlain during this part of the boreal summer. (Text: Cubadebate) (Photo: RT)

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