(NEXSTAR) – Stargazers won’t want to miss July’s full moon.
July’s upcoming full moon, also known as the Buck moon, will occur shortly after the moon is at its closest point to Earth in 2022 — which would effectively qualify it as a so-called “supermoon,” according to NASA.
July’s full moon is scheduled for 2:38 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, July 13, the space agency says. But less than 10 hours later, the moon’s orbit will bring it within 90% of its closest approach for the year, or only 221,994 miles from Earth, Space.com reported. That said, the moon won’t technically be “full” by the time it passes closest in the sky, but rather in the early stages of a waning gibbous. Even still, the moon should appear full to the naked eye, per NASA.
In fact, the moon will likely appear brighter and larger for three whole days between Tuesday and Friday, the space agency said.
“At its closest point, the full moon appears about 17 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter than the faintest Moon of the year, which occurs when it’s farthest from Earth in its orbit,” NASA writes of the phenomenon.
July’s moon also earned the name “Buck moon” because it coincides with new antler growths on male deer, NASA added.
The term “supermoon” was popularized by astronomer Richard Nolle, who used it to describe full moons, or even new moons, that coincide with especially close approaches to Earth. NASA said supermoons usually occur three or four times per year, but the Old Farmer’s Almanac acknowledges a more strict definition, which states that only one full moon and one new moon — the closest ones — qualify as supermoons in any single year.
July’s moon meets the requirements for the latter, effectively making it an undisputed supermoon.
August’s full moon, meanwhile, won’t be anything to sneeze at, either. According to NASA, Saturn will appear near the full moon on Aug. 11, and the planet will appear “near its brightest for the year” within days.