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Blue Moon, Super Moon This Month Above United States - Oregon / Washington Coast

Published 07/30/23 at 6:01 p.m.
y Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Blue Moon and Super Moon This Month in United States - Oregon / Washington Coast

(Manzanita, Oregon) – That old saying of “once in a blue moon” is about to be something you'll get to witness firsthand this month – along the Oregon coast and Washington coast, as well as the rest of the United States. There will be a blue moon in August. In fact, there will be two super moons. (Above: the moon seen from Manzanita on the Oregon coast)

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According to astronomy expert Jim Todd with OMSI in Portland, Oregon, Tuesday, August 1 brings the first full moon this month. Then on August 30, the second full moon takes place – which is the very definition of a blue moon. It's also the closest the moon gets to Earth this year, making it the biggest super moon of 2023.

For those anywhere in the U.S. (well, really, the whole world), and those traveling along the Washington coast or Oregon coast, look up this week and at the end of the month. But wait, there's more...

“There are four full Moon Supermoons in 2023,” Todd said. “The first was on July 3, the second will be on August 1, the third on August 31 (also a Blue Moon), and the fourth will be on September 29, 2023. The scientific term for the phenomenon is 'perigee moon.' “

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Full moons – if you're looking carefully – do vary in size because of the oval shape of their orbit, Todd said. There's an elliptical path that it takes as it zooms around our world. One part of this orbit is closer and called perigee, while the other side is called apogee and it's 31,069 miles further than the perigee. Those closer orbits make it bigger and brighter.

“A supermoon exceeds the disk size of an average-sized Moon by up to 8% and the brightness of an average-sized full Moon by some 16%,” Todd said.

The August 1 full moon will be a mere 19 degrees above the southern horizon, but the August 30 lunar encounter will be at 33 degrees and a bit brighter.

Todd said the Farmer's Almanac calls the full moon in August the Sturgeon Moon, named after the fact the Great Lakes of the U.S. and Lake Champlain yielded the most giant sturgeon catches.

“The Tlingit people of the Pacific Northwest traditionally called this time of the season the Mountain Shadows Moon,” Todd said.

What is such a full moon good for along the Washington coastline or Oregon's? Head up to higher vantage points like Cape Arago, Cape Disappointment or Cape Foulweather. The reflection effects on the ocean can be absolutely dreamy.

This also makes roaming around beaches at night safer, like Long Beach, Rialto Beach, Sunset Bay, Oceanside or Sisters Rock near Gold Beach.

What is a full moon NOT good for? Finding glowing sand or waves. It makes it too bright to spot that awesome-sauce phytoplankton phenomena. Bioluminescent Phytoplankton: What Makes Glowing Sand On Oregon Coast, Washington

“August 31 supermoon will be the closest, biggest, and brightest full supermoon of 2023,” Todd said. “It’s exceptionally close to the Moon miles from Earth (222,043 miles). The next time we’ll have a closer full supermoon is November 5, 2025, when the moon lies 221,817 miles from Earth.” Oregon Coast Hotels for this event - South Coast Hotels - Where to eat - Maps - Virtual Tours


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Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees over 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.

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