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Coming Up: Three Supermoons!

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Coming Up: Three Supermoons!

Full moon lovers will be in for a treat this summer as the coming months bring not just one, but three full supermoons in a row.

A supermoon occurs when the Moon is at least 90% of the way to its closest approach to the Earth at the same time it is full or new. Supermoons are caused by the shape of the Moon’s orbit, which is not a perfect circle, but an ellipse, or oval, shape. The Moon orbits the Earth once each month, and each month reaches a point farthest from the Earth, called apogee, and closest to the Earth, called perigee.

The reason these two Moon phases are singled out is because each of them means that the Sun, Earth, and Moon are in alignment. When the Moon is full, it sits exactly on the opposite side of the Earth from the Sun. When the Moon is new, it sits between the Earth and the Sun. In both cases, the gravitational pull from these two bodies — the Moon and the Sun — combine to create larger than normal tides, called “spring tides,” on Earth. When the Moon is also at perigee at this time, the effect is magnified into what is called a “proxigean spring tide.”

Of course, a new Moon at perigee isn’t very exciting to look at — because the new Moon does not reflect the Sun’s light, it is invisible — so full supermoons get much more attention than new supermoons. There are usually about four or five supermoon events each year, only about half of which tend to be full supermoons. This year is somewhat unusual in that there are only three supermoons, and all three are full.

May’s full Moon falls on the 25th, one day before the lunar perigee on the 26th. The May supermoon also coincides with a very minor partial lunar eclipse. The largest of this year’s supermoons will occur on June 23, within 22 minutes of the Moon’s perigee on the same day. June’s supermoon coincides with the Moon’s closest approach to Earth until August 10, 2014. Finally, July’s full Moon will rise on July 22, one day after that month’s lunar perigee.

With two or three full supermoons each year, they may not be unusual events, but for those who love looking up at the night sky, any excuse will do.

Happy Moon gazing!


1 Guisela Gutierrez { 11.01.14 at 10:40 pm }

Beautiful phenomena in 2014 too.

2 Danny Perez { 07.31.13 at 8:28 am }

I would like to correct what Claudio Leonel Ordoñez asks: The supermoon of July was full moon. Beatrice is asking for what would happen if the supermoon and the sun were at the same side of the Earth. That is New Moon.

3 Claudio Leonel Ordóñez Urrutia { 07.31.13 at 8:22 am }

I have the same question as Beatrice Monti. Specially for what I observe with the earthquake in China last week. By the way: Thank you Beatrice for you mention!! I think everyone has to read other’s post because everyone adds something new, and this article is interesting.

4 Beatrice Monti { 07.29.13 at 1:49 pm }

As Claudio Leonel Ordóñez Urrutia said, this information was very useful for me also. What could happen if the supermoon is newmoon? It can be combine with the sun’s gravity to make a kind of supertides for example? Thank you and congratulations.

5 Claudio Leonel Ordóñez Urrutia { 07.23.13 at 9:31 pm }

Thanks for the information. It was a useful tool yesterday. I just kept looking for clear skies. And finally I saw the majestic Moon at midnight and just before morning. Really, really awesome!

6 Frank { 05.25.13 at 3:46 pm }

The moon has the greater affects on are planet watch the weather during these events of the moon.

7 Jaime McLeod { 05.24.13 at 10:13 am }

I don’t believe anything in this piece contradicts what you just wrote, Jay.

8 Jay { 05.24.13 at 7:54 am }

Perigee moons are fun, and make for good photographs, but there is actually very little difference between a perigee full moon and the rest of them.

Tides are only effected in the slightest so you won’t notice. They increase by 2 inches MAX. Also, noticing the size difference is nearly impossible as 14% size increase is hard enough to see, but over the course of a few months?

I urge you to read this (written by an astronomer, not a news hypest):

That said, most things that gets people looking up is always a good thing, just not when it’s misinformation.

9 Davis { 05.23.13 at 3:09 am }

I just learned of this “super moon” phenomena, and interesting as it may be…I actually arrived at the beach today and have noticed little-to-no difference with the tide.
I say “tide,” -singular-, because I just got here today (just south of Daytona), and I haven’t had enough time to be certain…but over the yrs (20+)… staying at the same place (exact same condo)…and visiting frequently- various times of yr, but Memorial Day wkend every yr—I’ve noticed nothing out of the ordinary earlier in the night…or now. But…..

I have seen the tides (and other aspects/variables of/associated with tides and oceanic functionality) perform seemingly inexplicable feats (for which science/astronomy might have valid solutions), but the severity and/or random nature inspired little consideration of predictability—scientific or of pure logic. However, those instances have been coupled with other “random” (sudden/severe/odd) variations that envoked a bit of thoughtful reason…to which legit theories could be based—at least by my own, unfounded and unproven judgement.😄

Mysterious: (a) tides running hundreds of feet past normal tidal range- unaccompanied by any known storm, seismic, or unusual gravitational activity—even left ??? by the local news.
(b) typical jellyfish blooms, though science has taken a swipe at it and provided SOME explanation (of similar occurrences)–I haven’t been thoroughly satisfied…etc.

Explicable: (a) channels dug out by currents/tides(I do believe…), parallel to ocean’s width, randomly appear/disappear….commonly happen, small in scale and short duration- but I’ve seen them last over a week, becoming deeper, warmer (summer heat on smaller body of water), isolated from ocean except few hrs at high tide…and ODDLY enough, harboring several of the largest crabs I’ve ever seen in this area/climate (looked like snow crabs, literally…). I’ve only seen small blue crabs and tiny ghost/sand crabs around here other than that one experience…(except on my plate…:).
(b.) put that in your pipe and smoke it…

I’ve rambled into a blind, uncommonly brisk amble, and now I’m confused, frustrated, and physically lost (also emotionally and OBV psychologically); so to complete this comment…stagnate that consciousness which hath runneth over…I shall do what -alone- can quell the polarity of my thoughts and Tesla[n] charge bequeathed to ungrounded principal—– *see (b) above, rest, and come back w answers tomorrow!

10 Mr. Ed { 05.21.13 at 11:23 am }

Photo opportunity! I have a lot of fun going out at night with my kids and taking images of the moon. I show them the basic camera settings (speed, aperture, ISO) , and from there let them experiment. Capturing the details of the moon and then sharing the pictures is fun for them. With 3 supermoons, it’s going to be very interesting for them.

11 Ms Mariette { 05.20.13 at 6:49 pm }

Cute….nice information now I won’t be scared when I see the Moon so close! @Rhonda, U R so entertaining and witty! So would that be were-woman or were-person in your sense of the case?

12 Donna { 05.20.13 at 4:28 pm }

I want to go to the beach too and see the tides with this super moon

13 Theresa Hughes { 05.18.13 at 6:13 pm }

I want to go to the beach to see the spring tides want to see the larger than normal waves also love to see the full moons when they are huge

14 Gary Harding { 05.17.13 at 8:33 am }

Really looking forward to it .
Full Moons are Magical !

15 Rhonda { 05.16.13 at 8:51 pm }

My ruling planet is the moon, Iam born under the sign of moon child or cancer/ I also suffer from lycanthropy

16 Michael Amato { 05.16.13 at 2:36 pm }

I have seen supermoons before & they really do look larger than average. I have also observed full moons that that were at the farthest point in their orbit away from Earth. Those full moons look smaller that the average full moon. I hope the Farmer’s Almanac tells everyone when a full moon at the farthest point from Earth occurs. that would be an interesting sight also.

17 KERRY MAINES { 05.15.13 at 7:08 pm }

WOW ! I’ve never heard of a “SUPERMOON “. I can hardly wait to see one. Very interesting . Just hope for clear skys during their appearing dates. Thank you

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