In a stunning celestial display, the night skies are set to host a breathtaking event known as the "Blue Supermoon" on August 31, 2023. This unique occurrence combines two extraordinary lunar phenomena, creating a visual spectacle that's not to be missed.
What is the Blue Supermoon?
The term "Blue Supermoon" might sound intriguing, but it has nothing to do with the moon's color. Instead, it's a convergence of two lunar events: the "Blue Moon" and the "Supermoon."
The "Blue Moon" is a term historically used to describe the third full moon in a season that features four full moons. However, it has evolved to signify the second full moon occurring within a calendar month, a definition coined by the magazine Sky & Telescope in 1946.
A "Supermoon" happens when the moon reaches its closest point to Earth in its elliptical orbit, known as perigee. This proximity results in the moon appearing up to 14% larger and 30% brighter than when it's at its farthest distance from our planet.
Supermoons, like the Blue Supermoon, have a noteworthy influence on Earth's oceans. The moon's proximity during this event can lead to higher tides, known as perigean spring tides, due to the alignment of gravitational forces from the moon and the sun. While this effect may not be immediately noticeable to most, it can have implications for coastal areas and marine life.
During this rare event, the moon won't actually appear blue but will maintain its usual milky-gray hue. The term "blue" in "Blue Moon" is a reference to its infrequent occurrence rather than its colour.
When and how to watch
The Blue Supermoon is set to illuminate the skies on August 31, with its peak luminosity occurring at 6:07 AM IST. This event is particularly special for observers in India, as the moon will rise very early in the morning, around 4:30 AM IST.
To witness this celestial wonder, you don't need any specialised equipment. Simply look up at the night sky, and you'll be able to enjoy the Blue Supermoon from anywhere on Earth. However, for a more detailed view of the moon's texture, NASA recommends using binoculars or a telescope.
The Blue Supermoon promises to be a captivating celestial show, blending scientific wonder with visual enchantment. So, set your alarms, prepare your binoculars, and get ready to witness this extraordinary event that won't occur again until January 2037. Whether you're in India or anywhere else on Earth, this celestial spectacle is an awe-inspiring experience accessible to all.