Saturn will appear next to the Supermoon on August 30

The full Moon will also be a Blue Moon.
Loukia Papadopoulos
Representational image of a full moon.jpg
Representational image of a full moon.


The next full Moon is set to take place on August 31, 2023 at 2:37 am GMT and it is going to be an extra special one for three reasons. It is a Supermoon, it is a Blue Moon and the planet Saturn will also appear near it.

This is according to a report by NASA published on Thursday.

“The next full Moon will be Wednesday night, August 30, 2023, appearing opposite the Sun (in Earth-based longitude) at 9:36 PM EDT. The planet Saturn, just a few days from its closest and brightest for the year, will appear near the Moon,” reads the statement.

NASA details how the exoplanet will seem to travel clockwise around the Moon as the day goes by, a very rare view. The planet will first appear in the evening at 8:42 PM EDT at 5 degrees to the upper right of the Moon before seeming to migrate in a circular pattern.

What are Supermoons and Blue Moons?

But what are these interesting Supermoons and Blue Moons? According to the space agency, a supermoon “occurs when the Moon’s orbit is closest (perigee) to Earth at the same time the Moon is full.” Meanwhile the Royal Museums of Greenwich report that a blue moon is “the third full Moon in an astronomical season containing four full moons.”

However, this may be an inaccurate definition as NASA reports that Sky & Telescope magazine introduced another definition in 1946 that qualified a second full Moon in a month as a Blue Moon.

It should be noted that although the Moon is called Blue, its color will not reflect that. The name indeed has nothing to do with the moon’s appearance.

Coinciding with key times and celebrations

NASA notes that this special Moon coincides with some key times and festivals in the calendars of various populations. 

“This full Moon is in the middle of the seventh month of the Chinese calendar, Safar in the Islamic calendar, and Elul in the Hebrew calendar. Elul is a time of preparation for the High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Customs include granting and asking others for forgiveness as well as beginning or ending all letters with the wish that the recipient will have a good year,” states the space agency.

It also takes place at the same time as the Hindu festival Raksha Bandhan that celebrates the connection between brothers and sisters. As such, NASA offers some crucial advice to honor this phenomenon.

“As usual, the wearing of suitably celebratory celestial attire is encouraged in honor of the full Moon. Take care of your siblings, let go of grudges, and here's wishing you a good year!” says the agency.

Although inspired by the Moon’s celebration, this is great advice to follow year round regardless of what celestial objects are doing. However, the related festivals do offer an opportunity to put into practice some good habits and rituals.

This special Moon will last for three full days from Tuesday night to Friday morning. For those interested in following the Moon’s trajectory in detail, NASA offers a clear guide. So read up and head out to spot this one of a kind event!