The term “super blue moon” is a combination of several lunar phenomena: “supermoon,” “blue moon,” and “moon.” Let’s break down the meanings of each component:
- Supermoon: A supermoon happens when a full moon aligns with the moon’s closest point to Earth in its elliptical orbit. This point of closest approach is known as the perigee. “Consequently, the moon seems more substantial and radiates a stronger glow in the sky compared to a typical full moon. Supermoons can appear about 14% larger and 30% brighter than a micromoon (when the moon is at its farthest point from Earth).
- Blue Moon: A blue moon is a term used to describe a second full moon that occurs within a single calendar month. Since the lunar cycle is about 29.5 days long, most months only have one full moon. However, occasionally, a second full moon can occur in a month with 30 or 31 days. This phenomenon led to the phrase “once in a blue moon,” which refers to a rare event.
- Full Moon: A full moon is the lunar phase that occurs when the moon is positioned on the opposite side of the Earth from the Sun, resulting in its fully illuminated side facing the Earth.
When the terms “supermoon,” “blue moon,” and “full moon” coincide, you get a “super blue moon.” This is a relatively rare event that happens when a second full moon of the month coincides with the moon’s closest approach to Earth. The moon appears larger, brighter, and bluish (though not actually blue) in the sky. This event can be visually striking and often attracts attention from skywatchers and astronomers.
In 2023, the super blue moon would refer to a situation where the second full moon of a month aligns with the moon’s perigee, creating a larger and more vibrant moon in the night sky. It’s important to note that the specific date of such an event can vary based on the year and your location, so you would need to consult a reliable astronomical calendar to find out the exact dates of celestial events like the super blue moon in 2023.
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