What Is a Supermoon?
There’s something fascinating and even poetic about a Full
Moon, especially when it’s so close to Earth that it dominates the night sky
and looks almost close enough to touch.
By definition, a Supermoon is a New or Full Moon that reaches at least 90 degrees of its closest point to Earth (its perigee). Typically, this happens about four to six times per year. Of course, no one gets to see a New Moon. As such, there’s generally much more hype around full Supermoons. These Supermoons appear larger than normal moons, and they are often noticeably brighter.
An astrologer named Richard Nolle is credited with coining
the term “Supermoon” over 30 years ago. Officially, these moons are called
“perigee-syzygy” or “perigee” moons, with perigee being a term that refers to
the point in an astrological body’s orbit when it is closest to Earth. In
contrast, moons that are at their furthest from the Earth are called “apogee
moons,” as an “apogee” is something’s highest or furthest point.
As there are generally multiple perigee moons in a year, the
closest Supermoon in each year is sometimes called a “proxigee moon.”
This year, there are three full Supermoons for people to
look forward to. The first is just around the corner, on Tuesday, June 14.
There will be another just a little under a month later, on Wednesday, July 13.
Finally, there will be one more shortly after, which will occur on Friday, August
The Significance of a Supermoon
The moon’s close proximity to earth during its perigee means
that Supermoons can increase the moon’s influence on the earth, often in more
ways than one.
For instance, on a purely physical and geographical level, Supermoons
can have a palpable impact on the natural world. As the moon gets closer to
earth, its gravitational pull will have a stronger effect on the planet. The
end result is that natural processes dominated by the moon, such as the tide,
are more distinct and powerful than usual.
The tides during a Supermoon are often heightened compared
to normal. The end result is a high tide that is especially, well, high! These Supermoon
tides are often called “king tides.” In fact, depending on the strength of the
tide at a given location under a particular moon, they can even result in local
However, those with an interest in astrology may not be surprised to learn that some people think that the Supermoon’s pull is not only felt by the earth’s oceans but by astrological forces as well.
Many astrologers believe that just as the Supermoon can heighten the tides, so too can it empower the influences of the astrological sign that it’s in during a given period. The moon’s natural emotional energy is amplified, and some people may feel its effects on their mood or behavior.
The Upcoming Supermoons in 2022
Each month carries a name or title for its Full Moon. The June Full Moon, for instance, is known as the Strawberry Moon. It’s named as such because of this moon’s role as either the last Full Moon of spring or the first of summer, which often coincides with the ripening of many fruits, including strawberries.
This year, the Strawberry Full Moon is in two days, on June 14 and, as mentioned above, it’s a Supermoon.
The next full Supermoons of the year, in July and August,
are the Buck Moon and the Sturgeon Moon respectively. The Full Buck Supermoon
will be the closest of the three Supermoons, coming in at only about 357,418
kilometers away from earth.
There are only a couple of chances to observe a Supermoon each year, so if you enjoy stargazing, be sure to get out there to observe these lunar events.
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