Look up tonight as the first of two supermoons gracing the night skies this month reaches full peak.
While, technically, August’s first supermoon, the Sturgeon Moon, peaked at 2:32 p.m. EST today, this evening you’ll be able to see it clearly in the southeast after sunset.
August’s full Moon was traditionally called the Sturgeon Moon because the giant sturgeon of the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain were most readily caught during this part of summer.
You may have heard that there are four supermoons in a row this year; the August 1 supermoon is the second supermoon of this unusual sequence. “Supermoon” is a catchy term for what astronomers call “a perigean full Moon” which is when the full Moon happens at (or very near) the exact time when the Moon is closest to us in its orbit.
A supermoon exceeds the disk size of an average-sized Moon by up to 8% and the brightness of an average-sized full Moon by some 16%. You may not perceive the difference in size, but a supermoon will appear brighter in the sky.