Are you ready for the final supermoon of 2022?
Although it has perhaps the strangest name of any full moon, there are a few good reasons to watch our satellite appear on the eastern horizon. Not only will it be dressed in gorgeous orange hues—like any rising moon when it’s visible on the horizon—but the full “Sturgeon Moon” also happens to be the last supermoon of 2022.
Depending on what definition of supermoon you use, it is either the third or second supermoon of the year. Either way it will be the second largest Full Moon of the year, thanks to it being 100% illuminated by the Sun less than 10 hours after it is closest to Earth in its monthly orbit.
Here’s everything you need to know about the full ‘Sturgeon Moon’, including exactly when, where and how to see it at its biggest, brightest and best from where you are:
When is the “Sturgeon Moon?”
The full ‘Sturgeon Supermoon’ will occur on Thursday/Friday, August 11/12, 2022, depending on where you are. For North America it’s on August 11th while for Europe it’s early on August 12th.
Why catch the ‘Sturgeon Supermoon’ as it rises
A full moon always looks best as it rises. Only on the night of the full moon is it possible to see the Moon appear on the horizon at dusk. Since it rises about 50 minutes later each night, it rises in the early evening just before the full moon and well after dark after the full moon.
The full moon is best seen at that moonrise because you see it at twilight. This is the only day and night of the month that the moon will rise more or less shortly after sunset. You are there to gaze at the twilight moon, with your surroundings still visible. This is why it can easily capture a picture of the full moon rising while simultaneously capturing the scenery around it. This is simply not possible on any other night of the year.
Because Europe has two “full moon” rises this month
Since the full moon appears shortly after midnight in Europe, both the night before and after, see the full moon rise just after sunset. Everything is balanced, which means two chances to watch a nearly full moon appear over the horizon at twilight.
What is a ‘supermoon’?
A supermoon is a full moon that occurs near the Moon perigee—the point in space when it is closest to Earth during its monthly orbit—that will make the Moon appear a few percent larger than average. Most noticeable is its extra brightness once it gets high in the sky.
What is the “Moon Illusion?”
The night of the full moon is the only time of the month you can see the disc in its context. This is important because when your brain sees the Moon next to trees, buildings or mountains, it compares it to them in terms of size. What’s happening is that your brain is making the Full Moon look bigger than it actually is. This is called the “moon illusion” and it only really happens when you see the full moon on the horizon. To do this, you need to determine your schedule.
The best time to see the “Sturgeon Supermoon”
Here are the exact times to see August’s “Sturgeon Supermoon” from a few key cities, but check the exact times moonrise and moonset for your location. If you don’t see the Full Moon peeking over the horizon at exactly these hours – low cloud and horizon fog means you’ll have to wait a few minutes.
Just after sunset on Thursday, August 11, 2022
Thursday afternoon offers the best chance to see the full ‘Sturgeon Supermoon’ rise in the twilight sky:
- In New York, sunset is at 8:01 PM. EDT and moonrise is at 8:19 p.m. EDT (the moment of the full moon is at 8:37 p.m. EDT — so New Yorkers will easily see it at the exact moment of the full moon!).
- In Los Angeles sunset is at 7:45 pm. PDT and moonrise at 8:05 p.m. PDT (moment of full moon is at 5:37 p.m. PDT).
- In London sunset is at 8:32 pm. BST and moonrise at 8:55 p.m. BST
Just after sunset on Friday, August 12, 2022
Friday night offers another chance to see the full ‘Sturgeon Supermoon’ rise in the twilight sky, but only from Europe:
- In London sunset is at 8:30 pm. BST and moonrise at 9:19 p.m. BST (moment of full moon is at 1:37am BST).
Where to see the ‘Sturgeon Supermoon’
Look east. Go to an observation site that has a clear unobstructed view low on the eastern horizon. The full moon always rises in the east at dusk (opposite or near sunset) and sets in the west the next morning (opposite sunrise).
How to See the ‘Sturgeon Supermoon’
The first full moon of the Northern Hemisphere’s summer season, the “Sturgeon Moon” will rise in the east just after sunset, shine brightly throughout the night, and then set in the west near sunrise.
You don’t need special equipment to see a full moon – your own naked eyes are perfect. However, if you have a pair of binoculars, then get them ready for an amazing close-up.
Why does a rising full moon look orange?
A rising full moon appears orange because you see it through a lot of atmosphere (as with a sunset). The physics at play is Raleigh Scattering, in which long-wavelength red light travels more easily through the thicker part of Earth’s atmosphere, then short-wavelength blue light, which hits more particles and scatters.
I wish you clear skies and open eyes.