An extraordinary astronomical event is set to unfold in August 2023, offering stargazers a double treat of not one but two supermoons, accompanied by the appearance of an elusive blue moon.
Supermoons, occurring when the full moon’s orbit brings it closest to Earth, have always fascinated astronomers. NASA explains that the moon’s elliptical orbit causes it to oscillate between closer and farther distances from our home planet during its orbital cycle. When the moon reaches its closest point to Earth, a supermoon takes place, causing it to appear larger and brighter than a regular full moon, though the difference is slight.
A blue moon, on the other hand, is not related to the moon’s color but to its frequency. It refers to the second full moon that occurs within a single calendar month. As most months consist of 30 or 31 days, while a full moon appears roughly every 29 days, it becomes possible for two full moons to fall within the same month occasionally. Blue moons are infrequent events, typically happening around every two and a half years. The most recent blue moon occurred on August 22, 2021.
How to See the Two Supermoons
The first supermoon, also known as the Sturgeon Moon, will grace the skies on Tuesday, August 1, reaching its peak at 2:32 p.m. The name “Sturgeon Moon” comes from Native American groups in the Great Lakes region who noticed that sturgeon were most abundantly caught during this month.
August will culminate in the appearance of the blue moon on Wednesday, August 30, reaching its peak at 9:36 p.m. This particular blue moon is not only significant for being the second full moon of the month but is also classified as a supermoon. In fact, it will be the closest full moon to Earth for the entire year, adding an extra layer of astronomical intrigue to the celestial event.
Astronomy enthusiasts and stargazers are eager to observe these lunar events, and to get the best view, it is recommended to find a location away from city lights and to use a telescope or a good pair of binoculars.
Looking for a place to see these spectacular events in Northern California? Here are a few of our favorites:
Lassen Volcanic National Park
The best place to see this celestial event might be a nighttime hike to the top of Lassen Peak. But if you don’t have the energy to summit a mountain, there are still many options in the park to get a good view. Manzanita Lake and Lake Helen will surely provide some picturesque reflection photography opportunities. Also, a view of Brokeoff Mountain with shooting stars will certainly be breathtaking. No matter where you go in the park, Lassen is known as a great place to go stargazing.
If you can find a place around the lake to escape the city lights, there’s nothing like experiencing a starry night sky over Lake Tahoe. Maybe the best place to find the best night sky is the Desolation Wilderness, but anywhere in the higher altitudes above the lake will give you great views.
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Fannette island during sunrise ðŸŒ… . . . #caliinviteyou #humboldt #earthpix #way2ill #agameoftones #visualambassadors #calilove #instapic #instamood #hypebeast #canonusa #picoftheday #photography #shotzdelight #dailypix #california #earthpix #earthoutdoors #creativeoptic #outdoorsphotography #ourplanetdaily #trappingtones #heatercentral
There are SO MANY places to see the meteor shower above Mount Shasta.As you ascend into the higher elevations, Perseid will certainly feel much bigger and brighter than in the valley. If you head up to Bunny Flats you should be able to see the stars bigger and brighter than anywhere in NorCal.
You’ll have a great view if you sit on the beach of Siskiyou Lake, watching the moon as it hovers above Mount Shasta with a reflection on the lake. Also, a nighttime hike to Heart Lake could be the To be quite honest, anywhere near Mount Shasta City seems like a winner in this scenario.
Whiskeytown National Recreation Area
We’ve documented the wonderful adventure of kayaking on Whiskeytown Lake during the full moon, and this occasion might prove to be an even better experience for a night on the water. You can always get on a boat (if you have access to one), grab a kayak or go to Brandy Creek. Another option would be to hike up to the top of Shasta Bally to have an overhead view of the super moon floating over the lake. So many options here…
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Summer nights â€¢ â€¢ â€¢ #visualsoflife #lifeofadventure #outsideproject #modernoutdoorsman #clymblife #vsco #vscocam #canada #liveauthentic #livefolk #thisworldexists #travel #exploremore #artofvisuals #exploretocreate #thevisualscollective #thisisredding #canon_photos #freedomthinkers #Places_wow #Fantastic_earth #soft_vision #roamtheplanet #OurPlanetDaily #Artofvisuals #awakethesoul #wildernessnation #thisworldexistsambassador â€¢ â€¢ â€¢ â€¢ @thisworldexists @timeoutsociety @ironandresin @ig_thisworld @californiathroughmylens @rsa_outdoors @outsidemagazine @vicivisuals @shastarockclub @adventurethatislife @pnwonderland @pnwdiscovered @theoutbound @thegreat_pnw @outside_project @folkmagazine @artofvisuals @instagood
Yosemite National Park
Although Yosemite can become packed with visitors during the summer, there is plenty of room to enjoy a night sky. The park still stays far away from city lights and can give you one heck of a show during the meteor shower.
Take NorCal’s most beautiful landmark (and The Eighth Wonder of the World) and put a a meteor shower above it – enough said. Watch it from the rocks below the majestic waterfall or get an overhead view from the trailhead above. Either way this opportunity is too great to pass up.
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Milky Way over Burney Falls in Northern California. I’d been planning and dreaming about this shot for a couple of years before I finally shot it this Summer. I love how you can get the plane of galaxy to line up with the river and falls so it looks like the stars are the source. #astronomy #astrophotography #milkyway #stars #space #cosmos #nasa #burneyfalls #redding #norcal #northerncalifornia #california #visitcalifornia #cascades #westcoastbestcoast #westcoastisthebestcoast #pnw #pacificnorthwest #pacificnw #pnwonderland #nationalpark #nationalparks #getoutside #optoutside #rei1440project #findyourpark #fantastic_universe #ig_astrophotography #nationalparkgeek
Have fun watching the beautiful Supermoons over NorCal in August!