A dazzling array of celestial events is in store for stargazers in August: two supermoons, a rare blue moon, and a once-in-a-year meteor shower.
Those turning their eyes to the heavens will not have to wait long for the first nighttime showing. On August 1, the full moon will rise in the southeast.
When Tuesday’s moon is at its fullest, it will also be making its closest pass to Earth in its orbit, known as perigee. This will make the moon appear about 8% larger than a typical full moon and will earn it the label of a “supermoon.”
In North America, August’s full moon is often called the sturgeon moon because the freshwater fish are typically in high numbers during the month. It is also known as the grain moon, corn moon and harvest moon.
The second full moon of the month will come on the night of August 30. Whenever there is an extra full moon during a month, it is called a blue moon.
The next time there will be two full moons in one month will be in May 2026.
August’s blue moon will also be a supermoon, providing a rare occurrence of two such moons appearing in the same month. Stargazers will have to wait until 2037 before there are another two supermoons in a single month.
Also gracing the sky in August is the annual Perseid meteor shower. It will reach its peak in the Northern Hemisphere on the nights of August 12-13. Stargazers who have access to a dark sky can expect to see between 50 to 75 meteors in an hour. Viewers do not need a telescope; they can spot the colorful display with the naked eye during a clear night.
This year’s meteor shower will have excellent conditions, with the crescent moon not set to rise until the early morning hours.
The Perseid meteors come from leftover comet particles and parts of broken asteroids, according to NASA. Every year, Earth passes through the rocky debris, causing the particles to collide with Earth and disintegrate into bright streaks in the sky.
The meteors appear to come from the constellation Perseus, which is how they got their name.
August will also see the return of Saturn and Jupiter to the night sky.
Saturn will be at what astronomers call “opposition” — when Earth is directly between the planet and the sun — on August 27. On that night, Saturn will rise when the sun sets and will be visible in the sky throughout the night.
Some information in this report came from The Associated Press.