Rare super blue moon: What to know if you want to see it in Chicago area

Such a "super blue moon" combination won't be seen again for more than a decade

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The moon Wednesday night will be a sight to see -- for more reasons than one.

The rare evening moon will not only mark the second super moon this month, it will also mark a so-called "blue moon." Such a "super blue moon" combination won't be seen again for more than a decade.

But that's not all.

The Aug. 30 super moon will mark the closest full moon to Earth's surface this year, drifting approximately 222,043 miles from the planet, EarthSky said.

When can you see it?

The moon is scheduled to rise at 7:42 p.m. CT Wednesday, according to Time and Date.

The latest forecasts indicate the skies look to be clear for some Wednesday night in the Chicago area -- and you won't need much to see it.

"Generally you need just a clear view to the southeast," said Michelle Nichols, director of public observing at the Adler Planetarium. "Also the full moon tonight isn't also going to get terribly high above the horizon at its highest point to the south. So if your local area has a lot of trees, tall trees, tall buildings, if the horizon is very close to you because of all the local buildings and trees and things that might make it harder to see."

Still, Nichols said "it appears that for certain parts of our area, it might be a little cloudy tonight."

"That's really the only thing that will affect a wider portion. So folks closer to the lake might have a harder time seeing the full moon tonight just because when you face to the southeast, if there's a lot of clouds in that direction, that might affect your view," she said.

For those unable to look up in the sky or who may have an obstructed view, there will be a chance to catch the rare sight virtually from Adler Planetarium beginning at 9 p.m. CT.

Will the moon be blue?

No, the moon will not actually be blue.

According to NASA, there are actually two types of blue moons.

"A monthly Blue Moon is the second Full Moon in a calendar month with two Full Moons. Then, there’s a seasonal Blue Moon – the third Full Moon of an astronomical season that has four Full Moons," NASA reported.

In this case, the Aug. 30 super blue moon marks the second full moon of the month.

What is a supermoon?

According to NASA, a “supermoon” occurs when a full moon or a new moon is within 90% of its closest point to Earth.

Why is this moon so unique?

While the moon will not actually be blue in color, it is rather uncommon.

"About 25 percent of all full moons are supermoons, but only 3 percent of full moons are blue moons," NASA said.

This blue moon, NASA added, will be the final blue moon until May 31, 2026. However, the next "super blue moon" won't occur again until 2037, NASA said.

"The time between super blue moons is quite irregular ― it can be as much as 20 years," NASA said. "But in general, 10 years is the average. The next super blue moons will occur in a pair, in January and March 2037."

And that's not the only factor that makes Wednesday's supermoon so unique.

The Aug. 30 supermoon will actually be the closest full moon to Earth’s surface this year.

When will the next full moon be?

According to the Adler Planetarium, the next full moon will be Sept. 29. It will be the "fourth and final consecutive supermoon of the year," a blog post from Adler said.

As it is the closest full moon to the autumnal equinox, this moon is known as the "Harvest Moon" or the "Full Super Harvest Moon," the post added.

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