Supermoon and other big happenings in the night sky

A look at what makes this moon so special and other happenings in the night sky.
Published: Aug. 11, 2022 at 3:47 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Look outside tonight and see what appears to be one of the biggest and brightest full moons of the year.

It’s not an illusion, actually the moon tonight will be within 90% of its closest approach to earth.

“It’s a full moon,” says Paul McFarlane with the Fleischmann Planetarium up at UNR. “It is opposite in its position to us from the sun. So, it’s about 15% brighter and about 7% closer. So, when you see it rise above the horizon, it just looks bigger. And so, somebody thought “Super Moon” would be a good name for it,” he says.

McFarlane says this moon is great for picture taking; less so to see the fine details of the moon, it’s just too bright.

This is the last so-called Super Moon of 2022. Unfortunately, it happens at the same time many look to the heavens for the Perseid Meteor Shower.

“It is not going to be the optimal year for the Perseid Meteors for sure,” says McFarlane. “But we will be able to see the brightest of them,” he says.

McFarlane says to wait until Friday or Saturday night, Aug 12 and Aug. 13 for a better chance at the meteor shower.

Also in the sky: Saturn. It will be in opposition on Aug 14. That’s when the earth gets between the Sun and Saturn; meaning the planet will be opposite from the Sun and appears at its biggest and brightest in the eastern sky.

With a telescope, you will see the planet’s rings and its largest moon, Titan. If you don’t have a telescope, keep in mind you won’t need one to see tonight’s super moon.

Tonight’s moon is also called the Sturgeon Moon. It is based on Native Americans in the east who said the brightness was so great, it would illuminate the Great Lakes and allow them to fish more easily.

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