2022 Sturgeon Moon: How to Watch This Year’s Last Supermoon

by Emily Morgan

The fourth and last supermoon of the year, the Sturgeon moon, will occur Thursday, lighting up the night sky for spectators. The Sturgeon moon, named after the fish, will coincide with the near peak of the Perseid meteor shower, which has been ongoing since Jul. 14.

“Perseids are one of the most plentiful showers (50-100 meteors seen per hour),” according to NASA, and the moon could lessen their visibility. Still, people will be in for a treat when they peer into the night sky.

This moon is the fourth supermoon in a row after the Buck moon in July, the Strawberry moon in June, and a Flower moon in May. A supermoon refers to a full moon when the moon is within 90% of the perigee, known as its closest approach to our planet.

According to NASA, beginning in the 1930s, the Maine Farmer’s Almanac began publishing Native American names for full moons. Based on this almanac, Algonquin tribes that lived in the northeastern part of the U.S. called the full moon in August the Sturgeon moon after the large fish that the tribe caught in the Great Lakes during the summer months.

When viewers step outside on Thursday evening, the supermoon will appear seven degrees above the east-southeastern horizon, per reports from NASA. The Sturgeon moon will peak at about 9:36 p.m. EDT on Thursday. It will also appear nearly full on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday.

Viewers will get two out-of-this-world events on Thursday: supermoon and meteor shower

In addition, the Sturgeon moon will merge with another significant celestial event on Thursday: the Perseids meteor shower. The popular annual meteor shower, active from July to September, will come to a head between Friday and Saturday.

The space agency suggests the best time to watch the meteor shower will be after midnight on Saturday. In addition, NASA encourages viewers to be far from light pollution during the meteor shower. The agency also said viewers should look north and away from the moon’s gaze.

The next supermoon won’t be until Aug. 1, 2023, and Aug. 31, 2023.

According to the almanac, Thursday’s supermoon will be 224,569.1 miles from Earth, while the one in July was 222,089.3 miles from Earth. While Supermoons look about 7% bigger to the naked eye, the almanac suggests it’s actually hard to tell when the moon seems any bigger.

To truly catch a moon that looks bigger, experts suggest viewing the moon when its rising or setting.

Besides meteors, which NASA says could still be seen even with the moon’s brightness, onlookers will also be able to see Saturn on Thursday.

The Earth will fly between the planet and the sun on Aug. 14, bringing Saturn into the Earth’s sky, according to Earthsky.org. As a result, the ringed planet will look like a large star on Thursday.