Supermoon 2023

Supermoon 2023: A Spectacular Celestial Event - 'Sturgeon Moon
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Introduction

The celestial world has blessed us with a mesmerizing display as the first supermoon of the year graced the night sky in July, and now, we eagerly anticipate the last one for 2023 in September. But before we delve into the future, let’s unravel the magic of the ‘sturgeon moon,’ the supermoon that captured the sky on August 1, 2023. In this blog, we will explore the phenomenon of supermoons, the significance of the ‘sturgeon moon,’ and what awaits us with the ‘Super Blue Moon’ in the coming days.

Understanding Supermoons

A ‘supermoon’ is a term coined in 1979 to describe a unique occurrence when the full moon appears slightly larger and brighter due to its proximity to Earth in its orbit. The moon’s elliptical orbit results in its distance from Earth varying during its cycle. When the moon is closest to Earth, termed perigee, it is approximately 48,280 km nearer than its farthest point, known as apogee. This phenomenon, scientifically termed ‘perigee-syzygy of the Earth-Moon-Sun system,’ creates the captivating sight of a supermoon.

The ‘Sturgeon Moon’ Phenomenon

Among the various supermoons, the full moon in August is affectionately known as the ‘sturgeon moon.’ The name originates from a fascinating past when a large number of sturgeon fish were commonly found in the Great Lakes of North America during this time of the year. Native American tribes in the region held this time in high regard, as the lake sturgeon, the most prevalent sturgeon species, played a significant role in their lives. The lake sturgeon, being the oldest and largest native species in the Great Lakes, held great cultural importance and could live up to 150 years for females and 55 years for males.

The Great Lakes, the world’s largest surface freshwater system, provide a unique ecosystem for these majestic creatures. In the past, the abundance of sturgeon during this lunar phase contributed to the moniker ‘sturgeon moon,’ which is now an endearing term used to describe the full moon of August.

Witnessing the ‘Sturgeon Moon in India

For sky enthusiasts in India, the ‘sturgeon moon’ was a sight to behold on the night of August 1, 2023. At its peak at 12:02 a.m., the supermoon graced the skies, shining in all its celestial glory. However, the month of August has a special treat in store, with another supermoon slated for August 31. Regrettably, this one might not be visible from India, as it will reach its peak at 7:05 a.m. Nevertheless, the grandeur of August’s supermoons has been a rare occurrence, not witnessed since 2018, and will not repeat until 2037.

The Super Blue Moon and Its Mystique

Amidst the captivating world of supermoons, the term ‘blue moon’ holds its allure. Contrary to the common saying “once in a blue moon,” blue moons are not as infrequent as the expression suggests. Blue moons can be of two types: seasonal blue moons and monthly blue moons. The seasonal blue moon is the third full moon in a season that hosts four full moons. On the other hand, the monthly blue moon occurs when there are two full moons within a single calendar month.

In the context of 2023, we are in for a rare treat of a ‘Super Blue Moon’ on August 30/31, which will be the next monthly blue moon according to Time and Date. The last time such an event occurred was in December 2009, and the next one will not grace the skies until August 2032.

Conclusion

The year 2023 has blessed us with a celestial spectacle of 13 supermoons. As we bid adieu to the ‘sturgeon moon’ in August, we anticipate the grand finale with the ‘Super Blue Moon.’ The beauty of these celestial events lies not just in their awe-inspiring appearances but also in the stories they carry from generations past. The ‘sturgeon moon’ has reminded us of the cultural significance of the lake sturgeon in Native American tribes, while the allure of the ‘Super Blue Moon’ beckons us to gaze upon the skies with wonder and anticipation. Let us cherish these celestial gifts and continue to marvel at the wonders of the universe.

Photo By: UNSPLASH

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