GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The only “blue moon” of the year will rise in the sky Wednesday evening. It will also be the biggest and the brightest moon of the year.
A full moon occurs once every 29.5 days. The second full moon to land in a single month is known as a “Blue Moon,” and it happens once every two to three years. This year, it lands on Wednesday, Aug. 30.
Watch for the moon to rise in the eastern sky at 7:10 p.m. about an hour before sunset for West Michigan. The moon typically “looks” the biggest when it is close to the horizon due to an optical illusion that occurs when the moon is seen next to objects on the horizon like buildings or mountains. The moon will actually be at its biggest and brightest at 9:36 p.m. when it is completely opposite the sun.
This year’s blue moon is also a “supermoon.” A supermoon occurs any time the moon is in “close pass” to the Earth. The moon’s orbit around the Earth is not perfectly circular. Instead, it is elliptical like a squished circle. When a full moon occurs as the moon passes slightly closer to the Earth during the elliptical orbit, it will appear slightly bigger from our perspective on Earth. The “Super Blue Moon” on Aug. 30 will technically be 7% bigger than usual.
In Michigan, an area of high pressure will keep skies abundantly clear for the event. The downside to the timing; the full moon will occur close to Hurricane Idalia’s landfall in Florida. This will produce near-maximum possible tides which will enhance the destructive storm surge impact along the Gulf Coast.