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The next Full Moon on Wednesday, August 30, is a special one. It’s the closest, biggest, and brightest Moon of the entire year, plus it’s also a Blue Moon. Bottom line: If you have clear skies, don’t miss the brightest Moon of the year! See Bob Berman’s details.
When to See the Full Moons in August 2023
August 1: Full Sturgeon Moon
August’s first full Moon will appear on the afternoon of Tuesday, August 1, reaching peak illumination at 2:32 P.M. Eastern Time. That evening, look toward the southeast after sunset to catch a glimpse of the Sturgeon Moon rising.
In August, a second full Moon, a Blue Moon will make an appearance. The term Blue Moon is most commonly used when we have two full Moons in a single month. On Wednesday, August 30, the Full Moon will peak at 9:36 P.M.
This Full Moon is also a “Supermoon.” In fact, it’s the closest Supermoon of 2023. “Supermoon” is a catchy term for what astronomers call “a perigean full Moon” which is when the full Moon happens at or near its closest point to Earth in its oval-shaped orbit.
It’s exceptionally close in Moon miles from Earth (222,043 miles). The next time we’ll have a closer full Supermoon is November 5, 2025, when the moon lies 221,817 miles from Earth.
A supermoon exceeds the disk size of an average-sized Moon by up to 8% and the brightness of an average-sized full Moon by some 16%. You may not perceive the difference in size, but a supermoon will appear brighter in the sky.
A Supermoon can also cause higher tides than usual.
The full Moon of August is traditionally called the “Sturgeon Moon.” (In 2023, this name applies to the first full Moon on the 1st of August.)
The full Moon names used by The Old Farmer’s Almanac come from a number of places, including Native American, Colonial American, and European sources. Traditionally, each full Moon name was applied to the entire lunar month in which it occurred, not solely to the full Moon.
The Sturgeon Moon
The name Sturgeon Moon comes from the giant lake sturgeon of the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain; this native freshwater fish was readily caught during this part of summer and an important food staple for Native Americans who lived in the region. At one time the lake sturgeon wwas quite abundant in late summer, though they are rarer today.
What Is a Sturgeon?
These prehistoric-looking fish have been traced back to around 136 million years ago and many people call them “living fossils.”
Females require around 20 years to start reproducing, and they can only reproduce every 4 years. However, they can live up to 150 years!
Today, there are about 29 species worldwide, including the lake sturgeon found in the Great Lakes. They have evolved in size from the size of a bass to monster sturgeon as big as a Volkswagen.
The lake sturgeon is quite rare today, due to intense overfishing in the 19th century, pollution, and damage to their habitat.
Alternative August Moon Names
Flying Up Moon is a Cree term describing the time when young birds are finally ready to take the leap and learn to fly.
Corn Moon (Algonquin, Ojibwe), Harvest Moon (Dakota), and Ricing Moon (Anishinaabe) signify that this is the time to gather maturing crops. Along the same vein, the Assiniboine people named this period Black Cherries Moon, referring to when chokecherries become ripe.
The Tlingit people of the Pacific Northwest traditionally called this time of the season the Mountain Shadows Moon.