DYK the saying “once in a blue moon” describes something rare or infrequent? Witness a rare super blue moon in the dark skies of Ozark National Scenic Riverways. This free event will take place at Big Spring on Wednesday, August 30, from 7:30–10:00 p.m. Visitors are invited to join park rangers for a night under moonlight and Big Spring is a perfect location, with open sightlines and minimal light pollution, under the darkest skies in Missouri. The park will provide telescopes and other equipment for viewing the moon and constellations. This event is suitable for all ages and mobilities.
A “supermoon” is a full moon that occurs within its closest approach to Earth. That means the moon will appear brighter than usual – prime time for viewing the lunar surface or walking under the moonlight.
This moon will also be a “blue moon.” While not actually blue, the term refers to a second full moon in a calendar month. Only about three percent of full moons are blue moons. The next “super” blue boon will not appear until 2037 as it takes 10-20 years for these circumstances to repeat.
The evening will begin at 7:30 p.m. with a presentation about bats of the Ozarks. As the sun sets, rangers will transition to the supermoon viewing. By 8:45 p.m., the moon should be fully visible. Rangers may lead a short moon-lit hike around Big Spring, weather permitting.
Visitors are encouraged to bring bug spray and chairs or blankets. Any flashlights or lanterns should use a red light setting to preserve night vision. Telescopes and binoculars are welcome for stargazing/moon-viewing. Anyone wishing to hike at night should also bring suitable boots or shoes.
In the event of rain or heavy cloud cover, rangers will still conduct the program about bats at the Big Spring Pavilion and will use some special equipment to try to identify any bats flying in the area.
Big Spring is located south of Van Buren, along the Current River. To reach the Big Spring area from Van Buren: From Highway 60, turn onto Missouri Highway 103 (MO-103) and continue for about four miles. The road will curve left then cross a small bridge over the spring branch. Just past the bridge, turn left to reach the parking area adjacent to the spring. The event will take place in a field just north of the spring and at the pavilion adjacent to it.