NASA images show approximate difference in the appearance of a standard full moon, left, versus a super moon, which appears bigger and brighter because it occurs during the moon’s closest approach to Earth. / Photos, nasa.gov

By John Schwing

WESTPORT — August promises “super” celestial displays that should leave anyone gazing skyward feeling over the moon.

The first of two super moons — so called when a full moon occurs closest in its orbit around Earth — takes place Tuesday. 

The phenomenon makes the moon appear larger and brighter than a standard full moon.

Tuesday’s full moon, also known as the Sturgeon moon, should start rising above the horizon in Westport about 8:45 p.m. Tuesday — and the National Weather Service forecast predicts visibility should be good in the “mostly clear” nighttime sky. Moonlight should continue to appear fully “super” on evenings through moon set early Thursday.

The Sturgeon nickname, commonly assigned to an August full moon, according to NASA, originates with Algonquin tribes, who named it “after the large fish in the Great Lakes and other major bodies of water that were more easily caught this time of year.”

The NWS forecast for Tuesday night, however, comes with a less stellar spectacle — possible coastal flooding, from about 9 p.m. till midnight, caused in part by the stronger-than-usual tidal pull by the moon.

The month’s second full moon on Aug. 30 is called a “blue moon” because of the rarity of two full moons occurring during one month. It also will be a super moon since, like Tuesday’s full moon, it happens during the phase of its orbit closest to Earth.