Wyoming Stargazers To Be Treated Rare Two Supermoons In August

Stargazers who like the moon are in for a rare doubleheader in August, if the weather cooperates. Not only will there be a supermoon Tuesday, but a super-rare super blue moon at the end of the month.

Jimmy Orr

July 31, 20233 min read

Supermoon 7 31 23
(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

Stargazers who like the moon are in for a rare doubleheader in August.

Not only will there be a supermoon Tuesday, but a super-rare super blue moon at the end of the month on Aug. 30.

The term "supermoon" describes the moon when it's at the closest point in its orbit to Earth, and stargazers like them because the full moon appears about 30% brighter.

A blue moon is just a phrase to describe two full moons in the same month.

It’s a rare astronomical event to have two supermoons in the same month. It won’t happen again until 2037.

Of course, the catch is the weather. With it now being monsoon season, the skies are cloudier.

Meteorologist Don Day is somewhat skeptical.

"Fair amounts of cloud cover statewide on Tuesday, but there will be gaps and holes for some chances," Day said.

Good Viewing

University of Wyoming planetarium coordinator Max Galbraith told Cowboy State Daily that the supermoon Tuesday, known as the sturgeon moon, will be "remarkable" if the clouds cooperate.

“It’s going to be really bright,” Galbraith said. “That’s going to be the event of the evening.”

But there are some other celestial objects that are worth viewing too, even though the brightness of the moon will make it a bit more difficult.

“The Hercules cluster is almost straight up and that’s really good observing,” he said. "And if you have a good telescope you’ll be able to catch Mars right at sunset. It will be right next to the sun.”

Burn Your Eyes Out

Of course, you’ll want to be careful to not point the telescope too close to the sun.

“You know if you stare at it head on, it'll burn your eyes out,” Will Ferrell cautioned when he was playing the character of Chicago Cubs announcer Harry Caray hosting an astronomy show with Jeff Goldblum on "Saturday Night Live."

“Well its not best to stare at the sun during an eclipse, Harry,” Goldblum responded.

“But it's hard not to,” Ferrell, as Caray, responded. “I once took a pair of binoculars and stared at the sun for over an hour.”

Watch on YouTube

Back To The Skies

Saturn is a good bet to see in early August, Galbraith said. 

He says by 10 or 11 p.m., Saturn should be easy to spot near the constellation of Aquarius in the east-southeast skies.

Jupiter too. But, it’s a late riser. Around midnight, it will rise in the east.

In Wyoming

Although most anywhere in Wyoming is a good place to see the night skies, Cheyenne outdoorsman Chris Mickey told Cowboy State Daily singled out Jelm Mountain and the Red Desert as two of his favorites.

“From up there, you can get a 360-degree view,” he said of Jelm Mountain. “You can see the entirety of the Laramie Valley, as well as a great view of the Snowies, and the Sierra Madre range, on down into Colorado.” 

Next Supermoon

If you miss both August supermoons, don’t worry. There’s another one right around the corner.

On September 28, the Full Corn Moon will be on display and will end the so-called “summer of supermoons.”

Jimmy Orr can be reached at jimmy@cowboystatedaily.com.

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Jimmy Orr

Executive Editor

A third-generation Wyomingite, Jimmy Orr is the executive editor and co-founder of Cowboy State Daily.