This week a supermoon is set to be visible in the UK for the fourth and final time in 2022. For stargazers and the general public alike, it’s a fantastic opportunity to see the Moon at its biggest and brightest.
Supermoons are far more extraordinary than the Moon you see on a day-to-day basis – they’re a sight to behold and unsurprisingly Brummies will be rather excited by the prospect.
Here’s everything you need to know about the supermoon set to bless the skies this week, including what it is, the best time to spot it, whether you’ll be able to see it in Birmingham, and what the Met Office’s weather forecast says for the night it peaks.
What is a supermoon?
According to Royal Museums Greenwich, a supermoon occurs when the Moon is at its closest point along its orbit to the earth at the same time as a full moon. The moment when the Moon is closest to the Earth is called a lunar perigee, and when a lunar perigee occurs very close to the time of a full moon – that’s the instant we see the ‘supermoon’ effect.
During a supermoon, the Moon appears up to 14% bigger and 30% brighter compared to when the Moon is furthest away from Earth. If the Moon is within 10% of its closest distance at the moment of a full moon, it’s then considered a supermoon.
How often is there a supermoon?
Supermoons happen three or four times a year, far less than how often a full moon occurs, which is once in every 29.5-day lunar cycle. There will be four every year until 2025.
When is the next supermoon?
The next supermoon visible from the UK is tonight, in the early hours of Friday 12 August 2022, with its peak between 1am and 2am. It is set to be the fourth and last of 2022.
How can I see the supermoon in Birmingham?
Given the weather is clear enough, Brummies will be able to see the supermoon simply by looking out of their windows or stepping outside for a few minutes. The moon is unmistakable at its regular size, let alone when it is around 14% bigger, and therefore it should be a fairly easy spot.
As the peak of the supermoon is set to occur between 1am and 2am, the Moon won’t be close to either rising or setting. This makes it unlikely for buildings and trees to block its view, with the Moon near enough at its highest point throughout the night.
Why is it called a Sturgeon moon?
‘Sturgeon moon’ is what the full moon in August is often referred to as, and its name originates from the Algonquin tribes that used to live in northeastern parts of the United States of America.
In case you didn’t already know, ‘sturgeon’ is also a name given to 27 species of fish. Given that sturgeon fish were often caught by the tribes around August time, they decided to name the August full moon after them.
What is the Met Office weather forecast for Birmingham?
The Met Office is also forecasting ‘very good’ visibility throughout the night with little-to-no cloud cover whatsoever. This means the supermoon should be easily visible on the Birmingham skyline.
The full five-day weather forecast for Birmingham can be found below.
- Thursday 11 August: Sunny in the day, clear skies overnight (31ºC/19ºC)
- Friday 12 August: Sunny in the day, clear skies overnight (32ºC/17ºC)
- Saturday 13 August: Sunny in the day, clear skies overnight (31ºC/19ºC)
- Sunday 14 August: Sunny spells in the morning, cloudy in the afternoon and overnight (31ºC/19ºC)
- Monday 15 August: Sunny spells in the morning, rain showers in the afternoon and overnight (26ºC/16ºC)