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July’s full moon will be a little extra special: Here’s why

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Skygazers, mark your calendars! The next full moon will occur on the morning of Monday, July 3.

Since the moon will reach its peak around 7:40 a.m. ET that morning, the moon won’t be very visible in the sky at that moment. You will, however, have the opportunity to see it a few hours before full illumination or see it nearly full the day or two prior to and after July 3.

This moon will also be the first “supermoon” of 2023, meaning it will appear bigger and brighter in the sky due to the distance of the moon from the Earth.

The July 3 full moon is the first of three full moons that will occur during the summer season. It is the first of four “supermoons” that will occur in 2023.

What is a supermoon?

NASA defines a supermoon as any full moon occurring at the same time as the moon’s perigee, or closest point of orbit with the Earth. The moon takes about 27 days to orbit the Earth. During each 27-day cycle is a perigee, or point where the moon is closest to the Earth; and an apogee, or point where the moon is farthest from the Earth.

To be considered a supermoon, the full moon must occur within a window when the moon is at or within 90% of its closest distance to the Earth in that orbit cycle. (WKBN)

NASA says there are roughly three to four supermoons that occur each year, and they usually happen back-to-back. When the full moon occurs during the moon’s perigee, or closest point, the moon will appear about 17% bigger and about 30% brighter. To be considered a “supermoon,” the full moon has to occur when the moon is within 90% of its perigee.

Slide the bar to view a NASA comparison of a full moon at the farthest point, or apogee, to the closest point, or perigee (Credit: NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio).

There will be four full moon occurrences in 2023 where the perigee occurs close enough to the full Moon to classify it as a supermoon. The July 3 full moon is the first

There are 13 different perigees in 2023. This is showing the distance between the Earth and the moon at each perigee.

You can read more about one of the rare occurrences, a full blue supermoon, coming later this year here.

What is the full Moon in July called?

Names associated with the July full moon (WKBN)

According to NASA, the July full moon is called the “Buck Moon.” The name was published in the 1930s in the Maine Farmer’s Almanac, stating the Algonquin tribe referred to the full moon in July as the “Buck Moon” because it corresponds with the time young buck deer begin showing antlers.

Another name used for this moon by Native American tribes is the “Thunder Moon.” As you can guess, that is because of the prevalence of thunderstorms this time of year.

NASA says in European cultures, the June and July full moons have also been referred to as the “Hay Moon” because this is the time of year farmers make hay for livestock.

When can you see the July 2023 full Moon?

The moon reaches full illumination at 7:39 a.m. ET on July 3. If you don’t catch it then, it will appear full to nearly full just before and after July 3.

At the time the moon rises again Tuesday night, it will technically be in the very early stages of a waning gibbous phase, but you are unlikely to notice the difference with the naked eye.


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