What Is a Supermoon—and When Can You See It in 2024?

Updated: Jun. 18, 2024

Four supermoons make an appearance this year, bringing 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. These exciting cosmic events bring unexpected surprises along with them. In astrology, full moons and supermoons tend to symbolize moments of clarity, revelations and opportunities to embrace the unknown, and you’ll have plenty of chances to experience that this year because four supermoons are occurring back-to-back—and one of them is a 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 what a supermoon is and when, where and how to see every supermoon of 2024. Reader’s Digest even spoke with spiritual guide Sarah Faith Gottesdiener, author of The Moon Book and host of the Moonbeaming podcast, to find out what the supermoon could mean for your zodiac sign.

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What is a supermoon, exactly?

The word supermoon was first used in 1979 by astrologer Richard Nolle 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.

How rare are supermoons?

4 moon phases on blackMark Smorenburg/getty images

Supermoons might sound otherworldly or like a lunar mystery, but 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. When a supermoon aligns with a secondary lunar event, like a blue moon, blood moon or harvest moon, it’s an even more special celestial occurrence.

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 2024?

Grab your calendar and mark down the 2024 supermoon dates so you know when to look for the next lunar show. They’re listed below with the full moon’s nickname, the zodiac sign it’s in and how far it’ll be from Earth.

  • Aug. 19, 2024: Sturgeon Moon in Aquarius (226,231 miles from Earth)
  • Sept. 18, 2024: Harvest Moon Lunar Eclipse in Pisces (223,438 miles from Earth)
  • Oct. 17, 2024: Hunter’s Moon in Aries (223,354 miles from Earth)
  • Nov. 15, 2024: Beaver Moon in Taurus (226,171 miles from Earth)

When is the next blue supermoon?

The Aug. 19 supermoon is also a blue supermoon. While it’s expected to be a (relatively) close 226,231 miles from Earth, it doesn’t beat the record for the closest, biggest or brightest blue supermoon. That award goes to the one that occurred on Aug. 30, 2023—it was 222,043 miles from Earth. The next time we’ll have a supermoon closer than that won’t be until Aug. 21, 2032, when it will be 221,760 miles from Earth.

How can you see the August 2024 supermoon?

The supermoon on Aug. 19—the super blue moon—will be visible from North America, Europe, the United Kingdom, Africa and the Middle East. According to The Farmer’s Almanac, it will peak at 2:26 p.m. EST.

Can supermoons affect us?

People gather on the beach to watch the full moon in Miami Beach, Florida on January 25, 2024. (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP) (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images)CHANDAN KHANNA/Getty Images

The moon has been an object of fascination for thousands of years, and humans have long thought that it could influence human behavior, an idea is known as the lunar effect. Everything from losing sleep to losing your mind has been blamed on the moon.

In astrology (not to be confused with astronomy!), the moon represents your inner world and emotional landscape. Astrologers believe the intensity of the moon’s energy is magnified during a supermoon, causing feelings of anger, frustration, irritability or sadness to boil over. When a supermoon graces the night sky, they say, you might feel things that have been hidden bubbling up to the surface.

Others believe that supermoons can increase severe weather, storms, volcanic activity and even earthquakes. But while the moon does have a direct physical effect on oceanic tides, there’s no scientific evidence to support 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, but the impact of that on each zodiac sign depends on the planets involved in that particular full moon. Cancers, 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 Gottesdiener. “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.”

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.

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At Reader’s Digest, we’re committed to producing high-quality content by writers with expertise and experience in their field in consultation with relevant, qualified experts. We rely on reputable primary sources, including government and professional organizations and academic institutions, as well as our writers’ personal experiences where appropriate. For this story on supermoons, we spoke with spiritual guide Sarah Faith Gottesdiener, the author of The Moon Book and the host of the Moonbeaming podcast. We verify all facts and data, back them with credible sourcing, and revisit them over time to ensure they remain accurate and up to date. Read more about our team, our contributors and our editorial policies.