Here’s How to Catch August’s Ultra-Rare Blue Moon
It’s one of the rarer moon events, and that's because it's technically a bonus full moon. Here's what to know.
The last time we saw a Blue Moon was on the night of Halloween in 2020. But there’s a special one just around the corner. And if you’re someone who is fascinated by the many forms of the moon or you’re looking for something fun for the kids to witness, here’s how to catch this month’s Blue Moon.
Unlike other moons, like the Strawberry Moon, a Blue Moon isn’t actually blue, nor does the moon technically change color. However, it’s still a rare sight that’s worth taking the time to mark down when it’s happening so you and the kids can take a peek.
According to Inverse, a Blue Moon is given to a moon when there’s an extra Full Moon within a certain time period. The moon is broken down into two categories: Calendrical Blue Moon and a Seasonal Blue Moon.
A Calendrical Blue Moon is “when there is a second Full Moon within a calendar month,” Inverse explains. “The Moon’s cycle around the Earth takes about 29.5 days to complete, so if there’s a Full Moon on the first of a month, there will be a second Full Moon towards the end of that month (except for February, of course).”
On the other hand, a Seasonal Blue Moon is explained as “an extra Full Moon within an astronomical season.” These Moons are more rare, happening every few years when each of the four seasons (Fall Equinox, Winter Solstice, Spring Equinox, and the Summer Solstice) has a Full Moon and an extra fourth one happens at the same time. “If a season does have four Full Moons, then the third full moon — not the extra fourth — in that season is also dubbed a Blue Moon,” Inverse explains.
And what we’re getting this month is one of those rare Seasonal moons, and it’s set to be at its peak full brightness on August 22 at 8:02 a.m. Eastern time. But we all know that viewing the moon is best done in the evenings and this one will be beautiful and front and center in the night sky on both August 21 and August 22.
According to Earth Sky, the next Blue Moon that will rival the one set to show in a few days won’t happen again for several years. The site says that the next one like this will happen on August 19, 2024, and the following one will be on May 20, 2027.
So if you and the kids are able to take the time this weekend to peek up into the sky, it will be worth it.