The second of two consecutive “super moons” will shine brightly in the night sky this week when the full “buck moon” rises in July 2022, offering skygazers a special summer treat.
Here are a few things to know about the July Full Moon, when to see it, and why it’s so unique among this year’s moons.
What day will the July moon be full?
The first full moon of the summer season (the June moon filled a week before the summer solstice) will officially enter full phase on Wednesday, July 13 at 2:37 p.m. Eastern time. So it will be largest and brightest when it rises above the horizon on Wednesday evening.
If this isn’t a good viewing option for you, remember that the moon looks 98% full on Tuesday evening, July 12th and is 99% illuminated on Thursday, July 14th.
The July Supermoon begins to rise in the southeastern sky over Newark and New York City at 9 p.m. Wednesday and sets around 6:10 a.m. Thursday, according to TimeAndDate.com. The nearly full moon rises again at 9:48 p.m. on Thursday and sets at 7:32 a.m. on Friday.
To find the moonrise and moonset times in your city or community, check this schedule.
Astronomy enthusiasts consider a supermoon to be a moon that becomes full when its elliptical orbit is closer to Earth than an average full moon. This can make it appear slightly larger and up to 30% brighter than usual – especially when it starts to rise above the horizon or when atmospheric conditions are ideal.
Many astronomy fans, including those of Sky & Telescope magazine, believe that a supermoon is a full moon less than 223,000 miles from Earth at the closest point in its orbit known as perigee. TimeAndDate.com, which writes extensively about major celestial events, uses 223,694 miles (that’s 360,000 kilometers) as a benchmark for supermoons.
Because different experts use different distances, some classify more moons as supermoons and others classify less. In 2022, more experts seem to agree that July’s full moon will be the second of only two supermoons this year (June was the other).
But some considered the full moon in May a supermoon, and some place the August moon in the same classification, bringing the annual total to four.
Regardless of the number, based on its distance from Earth at the time of its full moon time, the moon will be the closest of the year on July 13 – 222,089 miles away – making it the largest and brightest full moon of 2022.
The Algonquin Native American tribes of what is now the eastern region of the United States nicknamed this full moon the “buck moon,” according to NASA and the Old Farmer’s Almanac, because at this time of year the new antlers of male deer — bucks — are in their full growth phase.
The Old Farmer’s Almanac and its rival publication, the Farmers’ Almanac, say that the moon of July is also called the “thunder moon” because of the frequency of thunderstorms that occur during this hot summer month. It is also called “Heumond”.
Other Native American tribes gave this moon the following nickname, directly translated into English:
- “Ripe Corn Moon” – Cherokee tribe
- “Midsummer Moon” – Ponca Tribe
- “Moon when the branches of the trees are broken by fruit” – Zuni tribe
After the July full moon completes its lunar cycle, the next full moon will shine in the sky on Thursday, August 11th. The so-called “Störmond” officially fills up at 9:35 p.m. that day
Don’t forget to keep an eye out for the Perseids – known as one of the best meteor showers of the year. This shower begins on July 14 with sporadic shooting stars, but doesn’t peak until the second week of August, according to the American Meteor Society.
This summer’s Perseids are expected to be most active during the night of August 11th through the early hours of August 12th. However, the timing will be bad for sky watchers as the moon will be 100% full.
The American Meteor Society says that people in dark rural areas, away from the glare of city lights, can typically see up to 60 to 75 meteors an hour during the peak period. But the brightness of the full moon this August will likely reduce the visibility of shooting stars, especially the faint ones.
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Len Melisurgo can be reached at LMelisurgo@njadvancemedia.com.