This year, we’re set to receive four supermoons in a row, so keep your eyes on the sky.

You’ve probably heard about ‘supermoons’, but what are they? In the strictest sense, supermoon isn’t an astronomy term — the name was coined by an astrologer, and even today, some people are still convinced that the extra gravitational ‘tug’ from a supermoon is responsible for natural disasters. But while terms like ‘supermoon’ (or its opposite, ‘micromoon’) aren’t official astronomical terms scientists use, they do grab your attention. If that means more people are heading outside to gaze up at the wonderful night sky, we’re happy!

The science of the supermoon

How a supermoon works is like this: because the moon’s orbit around Earth is slightly oval-shaped or elliptical, every month, there’s a time when the Moon is at its closest distance to Earth (perigee) and another time when it is at its furthest distance from Earth (apogee). A supermoon is when the moon is closest (at perigee), and a micromoon is when the moon is at its furthest (apogee). Because there’s no single, agreed definition, different news outlets or websites differ on what does or doesn’t count as a supermoon.

Astrophysicist Fred Espenak has a precise formula to help you check whether a particular Full Moon is a supermoon, and luckily Fred also provides a helpful table listing every Supermoon until 2100, saving you the mental labour of working it out. Visit Fred Espenak’s website at and scroll down to Full Moon at Perigee (Full Supermoon): 2021 to 2030.

2024’s Supermoons

Here are the dates and rising times for the supermoons in the year ahead:

  • 20th August, rises 6:31pm (AWST)
  • 18th September, 6:28pm (AWST)
  • 17th October, 6:25pm (AWST)
  • 16th November, 7:39pm (AWST)

Which direction to look: The Moon rises in the east.

Where’s the best place to see the supermoon rise?

Find a place where you can see the eastern horizon well. Anywhere will be OK as long as you have a pretty clear view of the eastern horizon without buildings or trees blocking your view. If you’d like to try and photograph the Supermoon, think about what type of landscape you’d like to capture in the foreground of your image. A group of trees, an interesting building or a body of water like a lake or river. Remember, this landscape needs to be in your view as you look east.

Does a supermoon appear larger to the naked eye?

The difference in apparent size between a ‘micromoon’ and a ‘supermoon’ is only about 13%: that’s not detectable to the naked eye, that’s barely noticeable with a telescope, so you probably won’t be able to tell the difference between a supermoon and any other full moon. For some comparisons between ‘Super’ and ‘Micro’ moons, check out our handy infographic below, or read more on the NASA website.

Image is an infographic comparing the different apparent sizes of a supermoon, full moon, and micromoon

What craters can you see on the Moon?

When you observe the Moon, take it one step further and identify a crater or two! There are some great tools that help you out with maps of all the features on the surface of the Moon. Before you know it, you’ll be pointing out the Tycho Crater or the Sea of Tranquillity to friends and family! Try some of these free apps and software:

Moon Phase and Libration Visualizations (From NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio. And, yes, the visualization is for the Southern Hemisphere stargazers!)

Moon Globe (for iOS)

Moon Atlas 3D (for Android)

LunarMap Lite (for Android)

Want More Stargazing Tips?

There’s always something interesting happening in the night sky and country WA is the best place to catch all the action!