Supermoon August 2022: When is the next supermoon - how to see the Sturgeon moon in London

Will the weather hold out to see the last supermoon of the year?

A supermoon will be visible in the London skies this week and with the weather forecast looking good, stargazers are in for a treat.

The Sturgeon Supermoon is the second to take place in 2022, following July 13’s supermoon, and is to be the last to take place in 2022, with a long wait until the next one.

With the Met Office forecasting a clear night sky across London, the Sturgeon Supermoon comes a mere few days before another cosmic lightshow - the peak of the Perseids meteor shower on August 13.

But how can people in the capital  get the best view of the supermoon and why is it called a Sturgeon supermoon? Here’s what you need to know

What is a supermoon?

A supermoon is 14% larger and 30% brighter than a regular full moon

One definition of a supermoon is that if the Moon is within 10 percent of its closest distance at the moment of full moon, it is considered a supermoon.

The moment when the Moon is closest to the Earth is called a lunar perigee. When the Moon is furthest away it is known as a lunar apogee.

If the lunar perigee occurs very close to a full moon, then the public will see a supermoon. If a lunar apogee occurs very close to a full moon then the public will see a micromoon.

During a supermoon, the moon will appear up to 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter compared with when the Moon is furthest away.

Why is it called Sturgeon?

The name is based on the idea of using the Moon as an indicator of optimal harvests in olden times.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac writes that the name stems from the huge numbers of sturgeon that were pulled from the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain by Native American Indians.

Europeans referred to the August full moon as the “Grain Moon,” when the grain harvest was similarly at its peak for the year.

When is the supermoon visible in London?

Amateur stargazers looking for the best way to see the supermoon can follow the constellations between Lacerta and Cygnus to get the best view.

The Sun will begin to set at 8:30pm in London this evening as the Moon rises at 8:54pm. Although it will be a few hours before peak illumination, it should offer a good view an hour or so after rising.

The peak of the Sturgeon Supermoon will occur Friday morning (August 12) at 1:36am, and astronomers call this exact moment a syzygy. It’s given to when for just a moment the Moon is directly between the Sun and The Earth in a straight line.

Will I be able to see the last supermoon in London?

The Met Office has forecast clear skies across London this evening, with a temperature of 27c at sunset.

The Met Office has also forecast very good visibility also, creating near perfect conditions to witness the lunar event.

How can I best see the Sturgeon Supermoon in London?

Londoners can count themselves fortunate to have clear skies this evening, so the best way to see the supermoon is:

  • Keeping an eye on the sky in the southeast and away from any areas with light pollution (bright lights that will affect the clarity of the night sky)
  • If you live in an area where the horizon is obstructed, for example, by buildings or trees, then it’s recommended you wait a little longer, until the Moon has risen higher in the sky at around midnight.

When is the next supermoon?

If you miss out on the Sturgeon supermoon, unfortunately you’re going to have to wait until 2023 for the next supermoon.

The next one will occur in 2023 on August 1 and 31, followed by September 18 and October 17 2024.

There is plenty happening in the night sky in 2022 still; we are in the middle of a meteor shower that reaches its peak this weekend and in a clear night sky the Perseids meteor shower is one of the brightest and vibrant in the lunar year.