August full moon 2022: when is Sturgeon moon in UK, best time to see last supermoon of year - meaning of name
The Sturgeon Moon in August will look larger and brighter because of how close this full moon is to the Earth
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It will be visible into the early hours of Friday morning (12 August) in the UK and it will also appear full on Wednesday evening (10 August) and at the weekend.
But when exactly can you see the Sturgeon Moon? Why is it called this? What is the best time to view it from the UK?
Read on to find out all you need to know.
What is the best time to see the Sturgeon supermoon?
The Sturgeon supermoon will rise at 8:55pm in the southeast on Thursday 11 August - as seen from London.
As the Sun will begin to set at 8:30pm, the Moon will rise and although it will be a few hours before peak illumination, it should offer a good view (weather permitting) an hour or so after rising.
Conditions look clear so the Moon should look fairly bright.
The supermoon will reach its peak at 2:36am on the morning of 12 August.
If you live in an area where the horizon is obstructed, then it’s recommended you wait a little longer, until the Moon has risen higher in the sky at around midnight.
What are supermoons?
Supermoons are categorised when the Moon is at 360,000km or less away from Earth in its orbital path.
We will often have two or three full supermoons in a row.
A supermoon appears around 7% larger and 15% brighter than a standard full Moon.
A supermoon occurs when the Moon is at its closest point to Earth along this orbital path.
This point is called the perigee. When the Moon reaches perigee at the same time as a full Moon occurs in the lunar cycle, the Moon looms larger in the sky and we get a supermoon.
According to the Natural History Museum’s website, supermoons appear so bright because they “cast about 30% more light on the planet than when the moon is at its dimmest.”
The reason for this is that as the Moon is closer more of the Sun’s rays that are reflecting off the moon’s surface make it to Earth.
And as for its size, when the supermoon rises and sets on the horizon it looks bigger but this is down to what is called the “moon illusion”.
Why is it called a ‘Sturgeon Moon’?
The Algonquin tribes of North America named August’s full Moon after the abundance of sturgeon in the rivers and lakes at this time of year.
The sturgeon is North America’s largest freshwater fish and they have been reported to reach lengths of up to six metres and weighing nearly a tonne.
They were once plentiful but are now endangered.
NASA explained that the Maine Farmer’s Almanac began printing Native American names for full moons in the 1930s and these names have stuck.
In Old English, the Sturgeon Moon was sometimes known as the Barley Moon, Fruit Moon, or Grain Moon.
In China, August’s full Moon marks the start of the Hungry Ghost Festival, a traditional festival where ancestors are honoured, and ghosts appeased.
How often is there a supermoon?
A supermoon only happens three or four times a year.
Up until 2025, there will be four a year.