Costa Rica is set to witness its final supermoon of August on Wednesday, August 30, concluding the month with a phenomenon known as a “blue moon.”
The term “blue moon” refers to the infrequent occurrence of two full moons within the same calendar month. This rare event is only possible in months with 31 days. The subsequent “blue moon” is forecasted for December 2024 and won’t reoccur until May 2026.
It’s noteworthy that this celestial event was missing from the skies in both 2021 and 2022. As a result, the August 30 supermoon holds added significance, representing the second supermoon of the month.
A “supermoon” is characterized by its notably enlarged and luminous appearance compared to regular full moons. This is attributed to its close approach to Earth (at perigee) during its elliptical trajectory, aligning with the full moon phase. This proximity makes the moon appear up to 14% larger and 30% brighter than when it’s at its most distant point, known as apogee.
“Moon phases at perigee appear remarkably more distinct than those at apogee, when Earth’s natural satellite is furthest away,” explained Alejandra León-Castellá, science communicator and the director of the CIENTEC Foundation.
For those enthusiastic about experiencing the supermoon in its full glory and capturing exceptional images, the CIENTEC Foundation offers some insights. “As the moon rises above the horizon or descends just before the subsequent sunrise, it can appear larger due to a visual illusion, providing a captivating view,” the Foundation advised.
Moreover, timing is pivotal for photographers. The supermoon will be most prominent at 3:57 p.m. on August 30 and will descend at 5:36 a.m. on August 31, presenting optimal moments for photography.
Another highlight for observers in Costa Rica is the supermoon’s zenith at 7:38 p.m. on Wednesday. At this time, the moon will reach its highest position in the sky, its brilliance reigning over the national landscape.
The supermoon’s imposing magnitude isn’t merely a visual effect. Its proximity to Earth, at roughly 357,344 kilometers, is approximately 7% closer than average, contributing to its grand appearance.
For the most vivid observations, CIENTEC recommends, “Seek out areas with minimal light pollution. This precaution ensures the moon and surrounding stars remain undiminished by man-made lights.”