Supermoon tonight: How and where to view the lunar event

Virgin Radio

1 Aug 2023, 12:41

Supermoon views across the world

Credit: Getty

As night falls, a mesmerising lunar event awaits stargazers tonight: a supermoon, also known as a sturgeon moon, here's how and where to view it.

This celestial spectacle occurs when a full moon is near its closest point to Earth, appearing up to 14% larger and 30% brighter than when it is farthest away.

Named after the abundance of sturgeon fish caught historically in August by Native Americans, the sturgeon moon will rise in the east at a distance of approximately 222,159 miles (357,530 km).

Astronomers' advice suggests that the best views will be in areas with darker skies and limited light pollution, offering a perfect opportunity to witness the moon in all its glory.

While the supermoon is visible to the naked eye, using a small telescope or binoculars will unveil the moon's intricate surface details, adding to the enchanting experience for all stargazing enthusiasts.

But the wonders don't end there! August will bring a double treat, with another supermoon expected on the 31st, known as a blue moon.

Occurring only every few years, the blue moon is the second full moon in the same month, leading to the saying "once in a blue moon."

This event will bring the moon even closer, at a distance of 222,043 miles (357,344 km), compared to its farthest point of about 252,088 miles (405,696 km) from Earth.

How can I see the supermoon?

The Royal Museums Greenwich advises: "So long as there's not too much cloud, the full moon will be an unmistakable white orb in the sky.

"This is a good opportunity to use a small telescope or a pair of binoculars to see the moon's detailed surface, or even try taking a few interesting moon photos.

"However, you can see the moon perfectly well with just your eyes. Seeing moonrise just after sunset, or moonset just before sunrise, will be an impressive sight as it will appear enormous compared to the surrounding landscape."

Lunar cycle

A full moon happens once in each lunar cycle, which lasts 29.5 days.

Sara Russell of the Natural History Museum said: "During a supermoon, the moon is at a stage where it is closest to Earth.

"This will typically last for two to five full moons, so that’s why there are multiple supermoons in a row.

"After that, the moon goes into the more distant part of its orbit."

"The Moon, of course, does not vary in size according to where it appears in the sky.

"It may be that when it is near the horizon there are objects, like trees and buildings, that it can be compared in size to, whereas in the middle of the sky there are no points of comparison, which makes it seem smaller."

The occurrence of two full supermoons in the same month is rare, with the last instance happening in 2018 and the next expected in 2037, according to Italian astronomer Gianluca Masi of the Virtual Telescope Project.

This year's first supermoon graced the skies in July, while the fourth and final one will appear in September.

Why do we give nicknames to different moons?

The tradition of giving moons various names, like the sturgeon moon, stems from ancient practices that relate to the behaviour of plants, animals, or weather during that month.

These names are often associated with Native American tribes, preserving the rich history of lunar observations and connections to the natural world.

What is it significance spiritually?

According to astrology fans and superstitions, all full moons bring about heightened emotions and times for change and a supermoon only, supposedly, intensifies these effects.

Virgin Radio regular and lunar lover Kirsty Gallagher had this to say: "Both supermoons [are] working powerfully together with the recent energy portal we have just moved through to help you to remember and reclaim more of who you are and where you’re being called to go next.

"We are in such a pivotal time on earth now, and this full moon is here to guide the way forward towards more of what the world actually needs – which is YOU being more YOU."

So, make sure to keep an eye on the skies and witness the awe-inspiring brilliance of the supermoon tonight!

If you want to be sure of seeing it, check out to see the best viewing window based on your location.