How to watch the last supermoon of 2022

The last supermoon of the year, which is also called the Sturgeon Moon, happens Thursday night. This is also when the Perseid meteor shower is at its peak.

Before you get too excited about two astronomical events happening at the same time, I have some bad news. People who want to see the meteor shower might not be able to because of how bright the full moon is. Meteors are best seen when the sky is dark. Most of the time, a new moon and a dark place are best. In this case, the Perseids won't be easy to see because of the supermoon.

The Perseids are bits of the comet Swift-Tuttle, and the best time to see them is from July 17 to August 24. This year, the most meteors are expected to shoot across the sky from August 11 to 13. The August full moon is on August 11, which could make the view less interesting.

NASA says that the moon will be brighter than anything else in the night sky, making all but the brightest Perseid meteors hard to see as they fly through Earth's atmosphere.

Bill Cooke, a NASA astronomer, said in a post that this year's peak of the Perseids will be the worst possible for people who want to see them. "Most of us in North America would normally see 50 or 60 meteors per hour," he said. "But this year, at the normal peak, the full Moon will cut that down to 10 or 20 per hour at best."

The FOX Forecast Center says that the Midwest and Central Plains will have mostly clear skies for the full moon on Thursday. The supermoon will be easy to see from Chicago and Seattle.

Fox's Stargazing Forecast
Thursday’s cloud cover forecast shows a clear sky for the Midwest and Central Plains for the full moon.
Fox Weather

The full moon happens every month, but August's full moon is a "supermoon," which means it is closer to Earth in its orbit. This makes it look bigger and brighter in the sky. July's full moon was also the year's brightest supermoon, and August's will be the last of four this year.

NASA says that when evening twilight ends at 9:11 p.m. Eastern time, the full moon will be 7 degrees above the east-southeast horizon. At 9:36 p.m. Eastern, when the moon is at its fullest, it has the most light. Saturn will be just 6 degrees above the moon if you look up and to the left of it.

Full Sturgeon Moon Over NYC
The bright full moon will likely hinder the chance to catch a glimpse of the meteor shower.
Peter Alessandria

The Farmers' Almanac says that the name "Sturgeon moon" comes from the big sturgeon fish that are often caught in the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain at this time of year.

If you want to watch the meteor shower or the full moon, use the "Plan" tab on the FOX Weather app to get up-to-date forecasts for your area leading up to the event.

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