If this month’s full moon looks bigger and brighter than normal, it won’t just be your imagination.
The July full moon, known as the Buck Moon, will rise on Wednesday, July 13. What’s cool is that it will be a super moon – appearing 14% larger and 30% brighter than other full moons.
Why it’s a “Buck Moon”
Old Farmer’s Almanac uses moon names from a number of places, including Native American, Colonial American, and European sources.
Male deer, bucks, shed and regrow their antlers every year. The full moon in July gets its name from Buck Moon from Native American sources because it is the time of year when male antlers grow rapidly.
Why it’s also a supermoon
The Moon’s orbit around the Earth is elliptical rather than circular. Although the distance between the Moon and Earth varies throughout the month and even the year, the average distance is around 238,855 miles, according to NASA.
Since the moon has an elliptical orbit, there are times when it is closer to Earth than others. The point in the Moon’s orbit when it is closest to Earth is called perigee. When the moon is full and reaches this point, it is called a supermoon.
There is no official definition stipulating how far the moon must be from Earth to be considered a supermoon. Astrologer Richard Nolle first used the term “supermoon” in 1979, and in his definition, Nolle explained that a full moon or new moon is a supermoon when it is below 90% from its closest point to Earth, according to EarthSky.
While the average distance from Earth to the Moon is 238,855 miles, on July 13, however, the Moon will be 222,089 miles from Earth, making it a super moon, EarthSky explains. Additionally, the July supermoon will be the closest to Earth of the four supermoons this year.
How to See Buck’s Super Moon
July’s Buck Supermoon will reach peak illumination at 2:37 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Wednesday, July 13, depending on the time and date. However, the moon will be below the horizon at this time.
Instead, full moons rise at sunset and set at sunrise. You can determine the exact moonrise time in your area here.
You’ll want to make plans to see the Buck Supermoon when it’s just above the horizon, as that’s when it will appear the largest due to what’s called ‘l ‘illusion of the moon’.
The moon, of course, does not change in size, but the illusion of the moon tricks our brains into thinking that it sometimes appears larger or smaller. Here’s why: When the moon is high in the sky, it appears small due to the vast expanse of surrounding sky, NASA explains.
The flip side is that when the moon is just above the horizon, our brain compares the size of the moon to other objects on the horizon, such as trees, buildings, or castles. water. Compared to these objects, the moon, of course, looks absolutely massive.
Finally, since the moon illusion occurs when the moon is low in the sky, the best place to see the Buck Supermoon will be somewhere with an unobstructed view of the horizon. Large fields, parking lots, and other places that don’t have trees or buildings blocking the horizon will be good places to see the Buck Supermoon in its biggest and brightest form.
While you’re thinking about the Buck Supermoon, be sure to read all of our stargazing content, including: