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Blue supermoon lights up August sky, with Saturn sighting

For the second time this August, the skies will offer up a late-summer treat this before we gear up for fall — a massive moon with a bonus Saturn sighting.

It’s both a supermoon and a blue moon — the latter because this is the second full moon of the month, and the former because our satellite is the closest it will get to Earth all year — 222,043 miles away, according to EarthSky. The average distance between Earth and the moon is 238,855 miles, while its farthest point is 252,088 miles away. This supermoon will be about 100 miles closer than the one at the beginning of the month.

For this reason, the moon is already appearing full, as it nears peak fullness on Wednesday night.

Often the actual fullest point of the moon happens during the day, when it’s not visible. But this one will turn full fairly close to the time it rises over the Americas, according to EarthSky. The moment of fullness will be at 9:36 p.m. on Wednesday, a couple of hours after moonrise at 7:10 p.m.

This blue moon may not look much bigger to the eye, but it will be much brighter. Adding to the luminescence will be a bonus Saturn sighting. The sixth planet from the sun is at its brightest for the year as well.

How do we find these objects when they appear?

The moon, of course, will be hard to miss. It will rise in the east at twilight, just as the sun sets.

It will be bright enough to block out most nearby stars, but one bright light will prevail. Just to the upper right of the moon, Saturn will be visible, and as the evening progresses, it will seem to “swing clockwise around the moon,” according to NASA. A simple backyard telescope could yield a view of its rings.

With News Wire Services

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