Together, these two events will make for an impressive moon-viewing experience if skies are clear. NASA reports that supermoons appear about 7% bigger than an average full moon. While the difference is slight to the naked eye, when photographed side-by-side, the increased size is noticeable.
For the best view, look to the night sky on the evening of August 31st, when the full super blue moon will rise above the horizon. The best time to see it will be right after sunset, as the moon is rising. But the sight will be visible for several nights before and after the 31st.
Around the world, moon enthusiasts, astronomers and photographers will be pointing their lenses skyward to capture images of the brilliant blue-hued moon. And many public astronomy programs are hosting moon-watching events to allow the public to view the phenomenon through telescopes.
One of the best places in the United States to view the super blue moon will be in Arizona. The state's clear skies, dark skies initiatives, and excellent weather conditions in August make it a top location for optimal moon viewing.
The Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium at the University of Arizona in Tucson is hosting a free public moon-gazing event on the 31st. Visitors will be able to safely view the moon through telescopes at the planetarium and learn about the science behind supermoons and blue moons from the center's knowledgeable staff.
Other ideal places in Arizona to see the moon include the high-altitude wilderness areas with very little light pollution, such as Flagstaff, Sedona, and the Grand Canyon. For those wanting to photograph the supermoon, locations like Saguaro National Park offer perfect foregrounds of Arizona's iconic giant cacti.
The best way to catch the August 2023 super blue moon is to find an open area with an unobstructed view of the eastern sky just after sunset. Be prepared to be dazzled by the larger, brighter moon lit up in a bluish tint. The event also offers the opportunity to appreciate the moon’s influence on Earth, from powering tides to impacting animal behaviors.
While supermoons occur more frequently, the convergence of a blue moon and a supermoon won't happen again until 2037. So be sure to step outside on the 31st and look up to witness this rare lunar treat. The sight of our glowing celestial neighbor, bigger and brighter than usual, serves as a reminder of the wonders and mysteries of our solar system waiting to be revealed.