July's supermoon will be 14,000 miles closer than usual, gracing the night sky with its radiant brilliance. This lunar spectacle promises to outshine any other full moon occurrence witnessed this year.
On Monday, July 3, the moon will rise, revealing its fullest form, and attain peak illumination beneath the horizon at 7:39 a.m. ET, as detailed by The Old Farmer's Almanac. Should local weather conditions permit, one can marvel at this celestial phenomenon by casting their gaze toward the southeast after sunset.
"A supermoon is when the moon appears a little bit bigger in our sky," said Dr. Shannon Schmoll, director of the Abrams Planetarium at Michigan State University. "As the moon goes around the Earth, it’s not a perfect circle. So, there are points in its orbit where it’s a little bit closer or a little bit farther from the Earth."
When the moon reaches its full phase at a point in its orbit where it is closer to Earth, it creates the illusion of being slightly larger, giving rise to a phenomenon known as a supermoon. According to Schmoll, the disparity in size between a supermoon and a regular full moon may not be immediately noticeable to the naked eye. However, The Old Farmer's Almanac assures us that this summer's first full moon will shine with increased luminosity from a distance of 224,895.4 miles (361,934 kilometers) away.
In addition to being a supermoon, the moon in July is also commonly referred to as the "buck moon." This nickname stems from the fact that July is the time when male deer grow their antlers during their annual cycle of shedding and regrowth, as explained by the almanac.
Native American peoples have bestowed various names upon the buck moon, as shared by Western Washington University. Names like "hot moon" allude to the summery weather, while terms such as "raspberry moon" and "ripe corn moon" symbolize the ideal periods for fruit and crop harvesting.
The moon glowing in the night sky
In most years, we typically witness 12 full moons. However, the year 2023 will offer us an extraordinary lunar treat with a total of 13 full moons. The Old Farmer's Almanac reveals that August will be particularly remarkable, hosting two supermoons.
Among them is a rare blue moon, which will be the closest the moon gets to Earth throughout the entire year. And let's not forget about the fourth and final supermoon of 2023, which will grace the night sky on September 29.
- August 1: Sturgeon moon
- August 30: Blue moon
- September 29: Harvest moon
- October 28: Hunter’s moon
- November 27: Beaver moon
- December 26: Cold moon
On October 14, a captivating annular solar eclipse will captivate observers across North, Central, and South America. During this celestial event, the moon will pass between the sun and Earth at or near its farthest point from our planet.
As a result, the moon will appear smaller than the sun, creating a mesmerizing sight of a glowing halo encircling it. It is crucial for viewers to protect their eyes and wear eclipse glasses to prevent any damage.
Following this, on October 28, a partial lunar eclipse will grace the night skies. This time, only a portion of the moon will enter Earth's shadow, as the sun, Earth, and moon won't align perfectly. This partial eclipse will be observable in various regions, including Europe, Asia, Australia, parts of North America, and a significant portion of South Africa.
Late evening until dawn in areas free from light pollution will provide the best visibility for each of the nine remaining meteor showers anticipated to peak this year. Here are the peak dates for these celestial events:
- Southern Delta Aquariids: July 30-31
- Alpha Capricornids:July 30-31
- Perseids: August 12-13
- Orionids: October 20-21
- Southern Taurids: November 4-5
- Northern Taurids: November 11-12
- Leonids: November 17-18
- Geminids: December 13-14
- Ursids: December 21-22