The last supermoon of 2022 will light up tonight’s sky. Here’s what you need to know

·3-min read
 (AP)
(AP)

The final supermoon of 2022, also known as a ‘’Sturgeon Moon’’, is set to peak in the night sky tonight.

Due to how close supermoons are to the Earth, they tend to look larger and brighter, reports iNews.

Keep your eyes peeled, as the next supermoon is expected to be seen over the United Kingdom on Friday, August 12, at 01:36 GMT.

Here’s everything you need to know about supermoons.

What is a supermoon?

The term ‘supermoon’ was first defined in 1979 by the astrologer Richard Nolle.

Explaining the phenomenon, he said a supermoon is: “a new or full moon which occurs with the moon at or near (within 90 per cent of) its closest approach to Earth in a given orbit”.

Based on Nolle’s theory, the moon would have to be approximately 226,000 miles away from the Earth in order to be considered ‘super’, reports the Sun.

Because of its relative close proximity to the Earth, its surface appears a lot bigger when a supermoon occurs.

Speaking to iNews, Natural History Museum’s Sara Russell, a professor of planetary sciences and the leader of the Planetary Materials Group at the 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.”

According to the Natural History Museum’s website, supermoons appear so bright because they “cast about 30 per cent more light on the plant than when the moon is at its dimmest.”

Meanwhile, some describe the phenomenon as a ‘Moon Illusion’, because the moon appears nearly 30 per cent brighter and 14 per cent larger than it actually is, because of our brain’s inability to grasp that the sky is actually a dome.

Why is this full moon called the ‘Sturgeon Moon’?

August’s full moon was named the ‘Sturgeon Moon’ by North American fishing tribes, because the fish species appear during this month. It’s also known as the Green Corn Moon and the Red Moon.

How rare are supermoons?

Supermoons are fairly uncommon, and they happen around every 14 lunar months, or full moons.

November 14, 2016, is credited with the most impressive supermoon since January 26, 1948, and it’s estimated that another supermoon of that scale won’t be seen until November 25, 2034.

It’s also predicted that the closest supermoon this century will occur on December 6, 2052.

What are the effects of a supermoon?

Supermoons are thought to have an impact on the Earth’s waters, as when a full moon is closer to our planet, the tide levels are often higher.

Some astrologists also believe that the supermoon was responsible for the tsunamis in Tohoku in 2011, and the Indian Ocean in 2004, although there is no scientific evidence for this.

How often are supermoons?

Despite full moons happening once every lunar cycle (which lasts 29.5 days), supermoons only happen three to four times a year.

Up until 2025, there will be four a year.

When is the next supermoon?

The next supermoon will happen on Friday, August12 at 01:36 GMT. The last supermoon was on July 13.