The summer’s final full moon arcs across the sky after sunset Wednesday, Aug. 30, and it boasts a plethora of superlatives: blue moon, supermoon and brightest moon of the year.
The best-known definition of a blue moon is the second full moon in the same calendar month. Since the moon’s orbit around the earth takes 29 days, a blue moon is possible in any month throughout the year. (February notwithstanding, thanks to quadrennial leap years.) But they are relatively rare; the last one occurred in August 2021.
The term “supermoon” is a bit misleading. “For a visual reference, the size difference between a supermoon and micromoon [full moon farthest from Earth] is proportionally similar to that of a U.S. quarter versus a U.S. nickel,” earthsky.org explains. “That difference isn’t noticeable to the eye at the moon’s distance. But the brightness difference is noticeable.”
According to the website, the average distance between Earth and moon is 238,900 miles. But on Aug. 30, everybody’s favorite satellite will be only 222,043 miles away. That’s because the moon’s orbit is elliptical, not circular, which explains the nearly 17,000-mile difference. Thus, keen sky watchers will likely notice the “supermoon” does appear slightly larger than a typical full moon, but all will observe that it is markedly brighter than usual. The Aug. 30 moon is the third of four consecutive super moons this year.
Another near-Earth object will also be making a visit in the waning days of August. On Sunday the 27th, Saturn will be directly opposite the sun as seen from Earth. “This is also when [Saturn] is the closest and the most illuminated,” said Steven Bellavia, research, education and outreach coordinator at the Custer Institute and Observatory in Southold. He noted that full moons are “not a good night for stargazing, as the moon’s bright light will make stars and dim objects difficult to see.” But given the planet’s proximity, moon watchers will easily spot a bright golden “star” near the full moon.
Full moons are considered by spiritual guides to be powerful time for ritual and work with natural energies, like those associated with crystals.
Cheryl Kiel runs the Crystal Emporium on Love Lane in Mattituck. “If someone came into my store looking for something to use for the full moon rituals, I would ask them their intentions,” she said.
Crystals are associated with different properties and are used to harness certain energies. To bring love into one’s life, for example, a light pink crystal such as rose quartz or pink tourmaline are often recommended.
Ms. Kiel said one potential focus for this upcoming blue moon could be protection. She suggests making moon water. “I put a jug outside on my front lawn where the moon hits down directly,” she said. “You can put your crystals directly in there, and I have found that using witch hazel — I do 13 drops, that’s my lucky number — can make [the moon water] last longer.” She said she uses the moon water throughout the year for everything from skin care to “casting spells.
“Rituals during a full moon can vary, depending on the person and their beliefs,” Ms. Kiel said. Full moon energy is often used to cleanse and charge crystals. She instructed to charge darker crystals in the moon by leaving them in the moonlight overnight.
A bright full moon also has more down to Earth effects, mainly in relation to higher high tides and lower low tides. For local recreational anglers, fishing the full moon — regardless if it’s super or blue — requires the tweaking of tackle and timing. “The tides run faster during the full moon, so heavier tackle is needed,” said Bill Czech at Jamesport Bait and Tackle. If drifting Plum Gut, he said, plan to drop lines an hour before and after slack tide or even a 24-ounce sinker won’t hold.
Mr. Czech said Peconic Bay has been consistent for a mixed bag of sea bass, weakfish, kingfish and porgies. As long as the ripping tide doesn’t make the drift too quick, a glob of clam belly will catch any of those.
For surfcasting for stripers from Orient to Southold, he suggested fishing five days before and after the full moon. “You don’t have to cast to Connecticut,” he said. “The fish are right here.” He recommends swimming plugs and poppers, the chicken scratch Bomber and a blue and white Atom popper specifically.