Year’s biggest super moon to rise this week

A rare lunar event is set to take place on 31st August: a super moon and a blue moon occurring at the same time. Here we explain what that means as well as the best time to look up into the night sky.

After the month’s first super moon on 1st August, the second lunar event is due to grace the skies on 31st August.

Because it is the second full super moon in the month, it is also called a blue moon. And it will be the largest of all four super moons occurring this year.

What is a supermoon?

This week, the Moon will be 357,344km away from Earth, and because this is closer than usual, the Moon will appear significantly bigger. It will appear 14% larger and 30% brighter than a classic super moon.

It will not, however, be blue.

As to why it is called a blue moon, explanations vary. Most use the term to explain this unusual lunar event when two full moons occur in the same month, the second of which is termed the blue moon. Others believe it originated in 1883 after the eruption of Krakatoa, which sent dust into the atmosphere and made the Moon blue in colour.

How often do blue super moons occur?

It takes roughly 29.5 days for the Moon to go through a whole cycle and most months go for 30 or 31 days, so it’s not that common for a full moon to happen twice within the same calendar month.

They occur once every two-and-a-half years, so if you miss this blue super moon, you’ll have to wait until 31st May 2026 to see the next.

Best time to see the blue super moon

To observe it at its best in Monaco and France, you’ll have to take out your telescope on 31st August 2023 at around 3.35am and hope for clear skies.

The next super moon (not blue moon) can be seen on Friday 29th September. It will be the last super moon of the year.


Make sure you’re never left out of the conversation. Sign up for the Monaco Life newsletter, and follow us on Facebook,  Twitter,  Instagram and LinkedIn. 

Photo credit: Ganapathy Kumar, Unsplash