The biggest supermoon of 2022 – July’s Full Buck Moon – rises above the eastern horizon tonight.
This will make for a striking view of the sky as “super moons shine about 16% brighter and appear 6% larger than average. full moonwrites geophysicist Chris Vaughan, an amateur astronomer with SkySafari Software who oversees Space.com Night Sky Calendar.
The Buck Moon, also called Thunder Moon, or Hay Moon, will reach its full phase at 2:38 p.m. EDT or 11:38 a.m. PDT (6:38 p.m. GMT), according to Vaughan. It will shine with a thousand lights between the constellation of Sagittarius and Capricorn.
Related: The Brightest Planets in the July Night Sky: How to See Them (and When)
The exact time of the event varies depending on your specific location, so you’ll want to check a sky-watching app like SkySafari or software like Starry Night to check the times. Our picks for the best stargazing apps can help you with your planning.
A full moon occurs when the moon and sun face each other and sunlight hits the moon head-on. As such, it can be difficult to see lunar surface features in detail during a full moon due to the lack of shadows.
Supermoons occur when the full moon coincides with the moon’s closest approach Earth in its orbit – known as perigee. From the Farmer’s Almanac (opens in a new tab) and Fred Españak (opens in a new tab), an eclipse expert and retired NASA astrophysicist, there are four supermoons in 2022, in May, June, July and August. Espanak’s definition of a super moon as a full moon less than 90% of its closest approach to Earth gives us four to see this year.
The July full moon is not only an impressive target for skywatching, it is also a significant event in many different cultures around the world. Here are some examples of the cultural significance of the July Full Moon according to NASA (opens in a new tab):
- Europeans sometimes call it Hay Moon because of the hay season which is between June and July.
- Hindus, Buddhists and Jains may call the July moon the Full Guru Moon (Guru Purnima), “celebrated as a time to clear the mind and honor the guru or spiritual master,” NASA said.
- Theravada Buddhists may call the July moon Asalha Puha (also known as Dharma Day or Esala Poya – a festival celebrating Buddha’s first sermon, according to NASA). The July moon also marks the start of an annual three-month Buddhist retreat called Vassa.
- The July full moon falls in the middle of the sixth month in the Chinese calendar, Tammuz in the Hebrew calendar, and Dhu al-Hijjah — the 12th and final month in the Islamic calendar.
If you’re looking for a telescope or binoculars to observe the moon, our guides to the best binoculars deals and the best telescope deals can help. Our best cameras for astrophotography and best lenses for astrophotography can also help you prepare to capture the next view of the sky yourself.
The next full moon will be on August 11 and is known as “Sturgeon Moon”. It will also be a supermoon – the last of the year.
Want to take a more in-depth moonlight tour of our rocky companion? Our ultimate guide to observing the moon will help you plan your next skywatching adventure, whether it’s exploring the lunar seas, mountainous terrain or the many craters that cover the landscape. You can also see where astronauts, rovers and landers have ventured with our Guide to observing Apollo landing sites.
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