What is the Super Blue Moon we’re seeing this week?

  • This week a rare phenomenon will take place when a Super Blue Moon rises on 31st August.
  • Despite the name, the Moon won’t be blue, rather this is the second Full Moon we will observe in August.
  • The Moon will also be closer to Earth causing a Super Blue Moon which we only see every decade on average.

This week, “once in a Blue Moon” will ring true when the Full Moon rises on 31st August.

The presence of “blue” in that idiom is a red herring (we promise we’ll stop with the colourised metaphors now) as the Moon won’t actually be blue and we will instead have two full Moons this month.

The idiom was first spotted in 1528, according to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s International Students Office, but in a context that was believed to have been referencing how the layperson ought to believe everything a priest says.

O churche men are wyly foxes […] Yf they say the mone is blewe / We must beleve that it is true / Admittynge their interpretacion.


This Blue Moon will also be rather special as it will also be a Super Moon. This means the celestial body is closest to Earth during a Full Moon. You likely won’t see this enlargement of the Moon as NASA reports it will only be around 14 percent bigger. However, the light coming from the body will be brighter given its proximity to Earth.

The occurrence of a Blue Moon happens once every 2.8 years as reported by Full Moons occur 12.4 times a year, however, every 2.8 years there are 13 Full Moons over 12 months meaning one month will have two Full Moons.

What we have happening this week then is a Super Blue Moon and it’s a lot rarer. As NASA states, Super Blue Moons can happen as far as 20 years apart but happen on average every 10 years. The next Super Blue Moons will be visible in January and March 2037.

While this rare celestial event is interesting a Full Moon has long been the subject of superstition. While there is very little scientific evidence that suggests the Moon’s phase has any effect on humans the outlier is bipolar disorder. Two very small studies found a correlation between the phase of the Moon and switches between depression and mania. You read more about that on Healthline here, but for the most part, any change you feel on 31st August may be purely coincidental.

In other Moon news, last week the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully completed its Chandrayaan-3 mission and landed on the South Pole of the Moon. In a video posted to Twitter or X at the weekend, the space agency showed the Pragyan rover exploring the landing spot which the ISRO has named Shiv Shakti Point. The rover is currently exploring the lunar surface.

[Image – Syed Ahmad on Unsplash]


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