Prepare to be dazzled by a rare celestial event tonight. A blue supermoon is set to grace the night sky on Wednesday, August 30, and it will be directly opposite the sun at 6:36 pm.
This occurrence earns the title of “super blue moon” due to its timing as the second supermoon of August. It’s important to note that the term “blue” here doesn’t refer to the moon’s color. It rather signifies that two full moons appear in a single calendar month. The “super” in its name arises from the moon aligning with its closest point to Earth in its elliptical orbit, known as perigee, in tandem with a full moon.
A supermoon appears around 17 percent larger and 30 percent brighter than the faintest moon seen during the year when it’s at its farthest point from Earth in its orbit. Although a 17 percent difference might not be noticeable in terms of size, a full supermoon shines a tad brighter than other moons throughout the year.
This event marks the third out of four supermoons in 2023, with the final one occurring in September.
Northern California is in for an optimal viewing experience, with clear skies in many areas and pleasant overnight temperatures in the forecast. That being said, smoke from the Smith River Complex Fire and other wildfires up north could affect the viewing for some communities of NorCal.
A wind shift from the north is anticipated, carrying smoke into the region and lending a slightly more orange hue to the moon than usual The HRRR weather model outlines the path of thickest smoke moving into the area on Wednesday. Although the model only projects until 11 AM on Wednesday, it’s likely that some smoke will still be present in the air during Wednesday night’s display.
What’s the best way to see this supermoon? Check out some of our favorite places to watch a full moon in Northern California.