Full moon: NASA scientist explains why moon appears ‘brighter’
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A full moon is a stunning reminder of the moon’s constant rotation around the Earth. Its bright reflection is enough to take over the night sky – and you won’t have to wait too long for another one.
A full moon lights up the sky once every month, as it moves around Earth.
Each time the moon is directly opposite the sun in its orbit, with Earth sandwiched in the middle, you’ll be able to view a full lunar orb.
It’s caused by the sun’s light being reflected off the moon’s surface.
From Earth, it appears like the moon is producing visible light by itself – but that’s not the case.
The moon takes about 29 and a half days to make one full orbit of the Earth.
That means a full moon should be visible every month, with very rare exceptions.
Once every few years, you might spot two full moons in a single calendar month.
These are commonly known as a Blue Moon, although its name bears no reflection on the actual colour of the moon.
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When is the next full moon?
The next full moon will be on Sunday August 22 at exactly 1.01pm in the UK.
It’s known as the Sturgeon Moon, which represents the freshwater fish that were particularly easy to catch during the August heat.
But, this week’s full moon will also be a Blue Moon, as it’s the third of four full moons in the astronomical season.
There will still be four full moons to go in the calendar year after this weekend, with the Harvest Moon set for September 21.
Royal Museums Greenwich said: “A full Moon occurs when the Moon appears as a complete circle in the sky.
“We see it as a full orb because the whole of the side of the Moon facing the Earth is lit up by the Sun’s rays.
“The next full Moon is on 22 August at 1.01pm in the UK. This is sometimes known as a ‘Sturgeon Moon’.
“August’s full Moon will also be a Blue Moon, as it will be the third of four full Moons in an astronomical season [in this instance, the period between the summer solstice and the autumn equinox].”
This week’s full moon will be an Aquarius full moon, just like last month’s lunar orbit.
It’s extremely rare to have two Aquarius full moons in the same year, which means it’s going to be intense and transformative, according to moon mentor Kirsty Gallagher.
It’s time to embrace the confidence and boldness pushed onto you by the Leo sun while moving forward with your Aquarian vision and plan, she said.
She advises using this Full Moon to write a list of what your heart is calling you to do and make a clean break from anything that “stifles your freedom or is holding you back”.
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