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LOOK UP: Now is a great time for sky-gazing

Find Jupiter, Saturn and a Blue Sturgeon Moon
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Posted at 3:31 PM, Aug 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-19 15:31:55-04

CLEVELAND — August is perhaps the best time this year to enjoy viewing Jupiter and Saturn, as both planets reach opposition this month. "Opposition" is the term for when a planet is on the same side of the solar system as Earth, and directly opposite from the Sun. It happens each year as Earth loops around in its orbit, passing by the much slower-moving gas giant planets. Saturn's opposition has already happened (August 2) but Jupiter's is today (August 19). This will be when Jupiter is at its closest and brightest. Both planets will appear to shift toward the west over the coming months, making them visible earlier in the evening sky.

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As you're enjoying Jupiter and Saturn, the moon will become full beneath the pair of planets over several days from the 19th to the 22nd. Plus, the full moon on August 22 is what's known as a "seasonal blue moon," as it's the third full moon out of four this season, where normally each season there are only three. This happens every two-and-a-half to three years, or as they say, "once in a blue moon." As the third full moon in a season that has four full moons, this will be a Blue Moon by the older definition. The first recorded use of "Blue Moon" in English dates from 1528. The Moon will not actually appear blue in color.

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This next full moon has been called the Sturgeon or Green Corn Moon, Raksha Bandham, Nikini Poya, the end of the Esala Perahera Festival, and the Hungry Ghost Moon. For more sky-gazing tips - head over to NASA's website.

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