What Is a Supermoon—and When Can You See It in 2023?

This year, four supermoons will take place back-to-back and bring a whirlwind of cosmic change with them

You might have thought Mercury in retrograde was a wild ride … but you haven’t seen anything quite like a supermoon. Supermoons are exciting cosmic events that bring unexpected surprises along with them, since full moons and supermoons in astrology tend to symbolize moments of clarity, revelations and opportunities to embrace the unknown. This year, four supermoons are occurring back-to-back, and one of them is a super rare blue supermoon.

But what is a supermoon, let alone a blue supermoon? Whether you’re an expert stargazer who understands the power of these full-moon cycles or you’re hoping to spot a supermoon for the first time, we’ve got you covered. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about when, where and how to see every supermoon of 2023, plus what it could mean for your zodiac sign and your zodiac compatibility.

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What is a supermoon, exactly?

The word supermoon was first used in 1979 by astrologer Richard Nolle, when he used it in an article in Dell Horoscope. It describes a full moon that is physically closer to Earth than it usually is, something that’s known as perigee, according to NASA. When the moon reaches this point, it appears about 14% larger and 30% brighter.

Normally, the moon has an average distance of 238,000 miles from Earth, but its perigee (closest approach) and apogee (farthest approach) change from month to month. A supermoon needs two things in order to occur. First, the moon needs to be at its closest perigee to the Earth in its orbit, which is when the moon is closest to Earth. And second, the moon must be in its full-moon phase, which happens every 29.5 days. Supermoons happen only a few times a year because the moon’s orbit is always reorienting itself as the Earth orbits the sun.

How rare are supermoons?

Supermoons might sound otherworldly, but you might be surprised to learn they’re relatively common. There are about three to four supermoons every year, occurring three to four months apart from one another. In fact, this phenomenon is so common that only the closest three or four lunar approaches each year qualify as supermoons. Of course, not all supermoons are built the same. And when a supermoon aligns with a secondary lunar event, like a blue moon, blood moon or harvest moon, the energy of this moon feels more electric and rare than a traditional supermoon.

Blue moons, which refer to the second full moon that occurs in a calendar month, are rare. Supermoons are even rarer than that. And a blue supermoon is one of the rarest of them all. Despite what the name might suggest, the super blue moon in August—or any blue moon, for that matter—will not appear blue in color. Blue moons get their name from a 16th-century expression used to describe something that rarely happens.

When are the supermoons in 2023?

We’ll be treated to four supermoons in a row this year. The first supermoon of 2023 occurred in July, the second in early August, and the next two will take place in late August and September. As for that rare blue supermoon, it falls at the very end of August. So grab your calendar and mark down these dates so you know when to see the next lunar show.

2023 supermoon dates:

  • July 3, 2023: Super Buck Moon in Capricorn (224,895 miles from Earth)
  • Aug. 1, 2023: Super Sturgeon Moon in Aquarius (222,158 miles from Earth)
  • Aug. 30, 2023: Super Blue Moon in Pisces (222,043 miles from Earth)
  • Sept. 29, 2023: Super Harvest Moon in Aries (224,657 miles from Earth)

How can you see the August 2023 supermoon?

We’re already past the first August supermoon, but the one on Aug. 30—the super blue moon—will be visible from North America, Europe, the United Kingdom, Africa and the Middle East. It will peak on Aug. 30, 2023, at 9:36 p.m. ET.

Even cooler? Saturn will also be visible in the night sky alongside it for double the viewing pleasure. You might want to check out these other astronomy facts before the big day.

What’s so special about the August 2023 supermoon?

The supermoon on Aug. 30 will be just 222,043 miles from Earth, making it the closest, biggest and brightest full moon of the year. In fact, the next time we’ll have a full supermoon closer than that won’t be until Aug. 21, 2032, when it will be 221,760 miles from Earth.

This supermoon is also a rare combination of three separate events: a full moon, a supermoon and a blue moon. Having this alignment occur doesn’t happen very often. In fact, if you miss the blue supermoon on Aug. 30, 2023, you’ll have to wait nine more years until this cosmic alignment occurs again!

Can supermoons affect us?

The moon has been an object of fascination for thousands of years, and it’s long been thought that it can influence human behavior. This idea is known as lunar theory, or the lunar effect. Everything from losing sleep to losing your mind has been blamed on the moon. The moon represents your inner world and emotional landscape in astrology, and during a supermoon, the intensity of the moon’s energy is supposedly magnified, causing feelings of anger, frustration, irritability or sadness to boil over. When a supermoon graces the night sky, you might feel things that have been hidden bubble up to the surface.

Other experts believe that supermoons can increase severe weather, storms, volcanic activity and even earthquakes. And while the moon does have a direct physical effect on oceanic tides, there’s no scientific evidence to support these other claims of impending natural disasters.

What do supermoons typically mean for your zodiac sign?

Supermoons are powerful cosmic events that can turn things upside down. The heightened energy can push people to extremes, and how each zodiac sign is impacted will depend on the planets involved in that particular full moon. Cancer, however, will always feel the shift of the moon. Cancer is the only zodiac sign that has the moon as its planetary ruler, and because of that, this water sign is hypersensitive to the turning tides. This becomes even more apparent when the moon is in a fellow water sign like Scorpio or Pisces.

Because supermoons are so energetically draining, experts suggest taking things nice and easy when they come around. In general, full moons are cycles of emotional release, reflection and rejuvenation. So during a supermoon, you shouldn’t start any new projects or take on extra stress—but you should get in touch with your body and listen to what it’s telling you. “Supermoons are the perfect time to turn off your notifications, get rid of distractions and refocus. Give yourself space to see what is being amplified and illuminated in your life,” says spiritual guide Sarah Faith Gottesdiener, author of The Moon Book. “This is a very important time for big changes. Utilize it to put your head down and pull your plans together for the rest of the year.”

What does the August 2023 supermoon mean for your zodiac sign?

Because this full moon occurs at the start of Virgo season, there’s a focus on getting back to basics. Summer has been particularly intense, thanks to Venus retrograde causing drama in people’s love lives. With this super blue moon in Pisces happening just days ahead of Venus retrograde ending, you can expect it to be an emotional one.

“August’s supermoons come at a time when Venus and Mercury are both in retrograde,” says Gottesdiener. “Recover, review, reflect and reinvent before the eclipses in October, which will boost whatever you are putting into motion now.” Try to understand the hidden nature of things, embracing the power of empathy and self-awareness, and don’t be afraid to go there. Instead, take this moment to get in touch with your emotions and get back to your dreams and your truth, especially before the fall equinox arrives with its own set of astrological challenges.

About the expert

  • Sarah Faith Gottesdiener is the author of The Moon Book, the host of the Moonbeaming podcast and a spiritual guide who has worked with several A-list celebrities to help them integrate spirituality into their lives and live more intentionally. She has nearly a decade of experience guiding people to return to their intuition, discover boundaries and tap into their abundance, energy and more.


  • Britannica: “Richard Nolle”
  • NASA: “What Is a Supermoon?”
  • NASA: “Supermoon, Blood Moon, Blue Moon and Harvest Moon”
  • Full Moon Phase: “Supermoon Calendar 2023”
  • EarthSky: “Full Blue Moon near Saturn: It’s a supermoon on August 30-31”
  • Sleepopolis: “Why Last Night’s Supermoon Probably Wrecked Your Sleep

Lauren Ash
Lauren Ash is a culture expert and lifestyle writer for Reader's Digest, USA Today, InStyle, Mane Addicts and StyleCaster, among others. She covers astrology, celebrity news, beauty trends, reality television and all things pop culture. Lauren graduated with a B.A. in English and creative writing from the University of Missouri. When she’s not writing, you can find her relaxing by the water or reading romance novels.