How to watch the August supermoons in the Middle East

The summer month will witness both a sturgeon moon and a blue moon

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Stargazers are in for a treat next month, with a pair of supermoons set to grace the skies.

The first, known as the sturgeon moon, will be on the night of August 1, when the Moon will be 357,530km from the Earth.

The last time there were two full supermoons in the same month was in 2018.

The second supermoon will take place on the night of August 30, when the Moon will be just 357,344km from the Earth. As the second full moon in one month, it will be what is known as a blue moon.

The next time there will be two full supermoons in the same month will be in 2037, according to Italian astronomer Gianluca Masi, founder of the Virtual Telescope Project.

When can you see the supermoons?

Lunar phases are measured from the position of the Moon relative to the Earth; a full moon happens when the Moon is exactly on the opposite side of Earth from the sun. That means the timing of the full moon differs by time zone.

In the UAE, the full sturgeon moon, or supermoon, will be visible at 10.32pm on the evening of August 1, just one day before the moon is closest to Earth.

In total, Nasa says there will be four supermoons in 2023: one in July, two in August and one in September.

The two brightest are those set to appear in August, at the height of summer.

"Warm summer nights are the ideal time to watch the full moon rise in the eastern sky within minutes of sunset,” said retired Nasa astrophysicist Fred Espenak, known as "Mr Eclipse" for his expertise.

Why is it called the sturgeon moon?

According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, the August full moon is traditionally known as the sturgeon moon. This is because of the abundance of that fish in the American Great Lakes in August hundreds of years ago.

A supermoon occurs when the full moon coincides with the Moon being at the point in its orbit closest to Earth.

This happens because the lunar orbit is not a perfect circle.

As a result, sometimes the full moon appears larger in the sky, but the difference is small, only about 10 to 11 per cent. Most people don't notice.

What are the other full moons called?

The full moons across the lunar calendar have been given different names over time.

Many of the names originate in Native American culture, with different tribes assigning different names to the phenomenon, according to the UK’s Royal Museums Greenwich, to which the Royal Observatory belongs.

Thirteen full moons are expected this year.

They are: January’s Wolf Moon, February’s Snow Moon, March’s Worm Moon, April's Pink Moon, May's Flower Moon, June's Strawberry Moon, July's Buck Moon, August's Sturgeon Moon, September's Full Corn Moon, October's Hunter's Moon, November's Beaver Moon and December's Cold Moon.

Updated: August 02, 2023, 4:32 AM