The next full moon will occur Thursday, Aug. 11 at 9:36 p.m. The moon will have risen in the sky over the Valley at that time and reaches full illumination while it is visible. This moon will also be a “supermoon,” meaning it will appear bigger and brighter in the sky than a standard full moon due to the distance of the moon from the earth.

What is a supermoon?

NASA defines a supermoon as a full moon occurring at the same time as the moon’s perigee. The perigee is the closest point of the moon’s orbit with the earth. The moon takes about 27 days to orbit the earth. During each 27-day cycle is a perigee, or point where the moon is closest to the earth, and an apogee, or point where the moon is farthest from the Earth.

NASA says roughly three to four supermoons occur each year and they usually happen back-to-back. This month’s full moon is the fourth and final “supermoon” of 2022. When a full moon occurs during the moon’s perigee or closest point, the moon will appear about 17% bigger and about 30% brighter. To be considered a “supermoon,” the full moon has to occur when the moon is within 90% of its perigee. Below is a side-by-side comparison of the difference between a moon at perigee, or at the closest point to Earth in the moons orbit, and apogee, the farthest point.

Slide the bar to view a NASA comparison of a full moon at the farthest point, or apogee, to the closest point, or perigee.
Credit: NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio

When is the moon at perigee and how far from earth is the moon?

The moon reached perigee Wednesday afternoon, Aug. 10. at 1:10 p.m. At that time, the moon reached the closest point in the current orbit cycle. The distance between the earth and the moon at that time was 223,587 miles! The moon takes roughly 27 days to complete an orbit cycle around the earth.

2022 moon perigee dates and distance between the moon and earth
There are 14 different perigees in 2022. This is showing the distance between the earth and the moon at each perigee. The August 10th perigee is the fifth closest of the year 2022.

Of the 14 different perigees to happen in 2022, this Aug. perigee is the fifth closest distance this year. The closest pass of the year occurred last month for the full “buck” supermoon happening July 13, 2022.

To be considered a supermoon, the full moon has to occur when the moon is within in 90% of the closest distance at the most recent perigee. The next apogee, or furthest distance between the earth and moon, in the current orbit cycle occurs on Aug. 22. At that time, the moon will be at a distance of 251,915 miles from the earth. To stay within the 90% of the current closest pass, the distance between the moon and the earth at the time full illumination is reached can’t exceed 226,420 miles.

What is the August full ‘supermoon’ moon called?

According to NASA, the August full moon is called the “Sturgeon Moon.” The name was published in the 1930s in the Maine Farmer’s Almanac. That publication stated the Native American tribe known as the Algonquin tribe gave the Aug. full moon that name. A sturgeon is a type of fish and the moon was given that name because the tribe found it easier to catch those fish in larger bodies of water during this time of year. NASA says another name for the August full moon is the “green corn” moon.

When can you see the Sturgeon full moon, the last supermoon of 2022?

The moon will be nearly full when it rises Wednesday evening. The moonrise will take place at 8:05 p.m. but it won’t technically be a full moon just yet. The moon phase Wednesday evening through Thursday morning is a Waxing Gibbous. It will rise in the southeastern sky over Youngstown, Ohio and will set at 5:29 a.m. in the southwestern sky Thursday morning.

The full “Sturgeon” supermoon will appear in the southeastern sky at 8:47 p.m. Thursday evening over Youngstown, Ohio. It technically doesn’t reach full illumination and full moon status until 9:36 p.m. It will set at 6:50 a.m. in the southwestern sky early Friday morning.

The moonrise and moonset times for Wednesday, August 10 - Thursday, August 11 and the moonrise and moonset times for the full "Sturgeon" supermoon on Thursday, August 11 - Friday, August 12 over Youngstown, Ohio
The moonrise and moonset times for Wednesday, Aug. 10 – Thursday, Aug. 11 and the moonrise and moonset times for the full “Sturgeon” supermoon on Thursday, Aug. 11 – Friday, Aug. 12 over Youngstown, Ohio

The big question is, will the weather cooperate so you can see the Aug. full “Sturgeon” supermoon, the last supermoon of 2022? Check the latest forecast for the Youngstown area and see what to plan for the next few nights.