J. David Ake/AP
The third supermoon of 2022 will grace the night sky on Tuesday.
It is also known as the male moon because it falls in July. The name doesn’t come from its appearance – you won’t see the shape of a male on the moon’s surface or anything. Instead, it refers to something that happens in nature.
“The full moon in July is called Buck Moon because the antlers of male stags (bucks) are in full growth at that time,” as The Old Farmer’s Almanac puts it. “The males shed and regrow their antlers each year, producing a larger and more impressive set as the years go by.”
What is a Super Moon?
What makes it special buck moon a super moon is something else. Supermoons by definition occur “when a full moon coincides with the Moon’s closest approach to Earth in its elliptical orbit, a point known as perigee,” according to NASA.
“During each 27-day orbit around Earth, the Moon reaches both its perigee, about 226,000 miles (363,300 km) from Earth, and its furthest point, or apogee, about 251 000 miles (405,500 km) from Earth.”
Supermoons occur when a full moon is at least 90% past perigee.
What to look for
According to NASA, supermoons typically appear 17% larger and 30% brighter than when the moon is at its farthest point from Earth. Super moons are also slightly larger and brighter than most full moons. Just because it’s bigger and brighter doesn’t mean you’ll see it unaided, so binoculars might give you a better view.
And if you’re looking for photography tips to capture this event, NASA has these handy tips for you.
The best times to see the male moon will be during moonrise and moonset. You can find your local times for those here.
If it’s cloudy where you are on Tuesday, don’t worry too much. The moon will appear full for about three days, until Friday morning, so there are still viewing opportunities.
And it’s not the last supermoon of the year either. The sturgeon moon on the night of August 11 will be the last supermoon in this year’s set of four.