Super Buck Moon in July: The Year’s Biggest and Brightest

Star Walk
5 min readJul 10, 2022
Image Credit: Vito Technology, Inc.

On July 13, at 18:37 GMT (2:37 p.m. EDT), the Moon will reach its full phase. Several hours earlier, it will also arrive at its closest point to the Earth. This will make it look 7% bigger and shine 16% brighter than a regular Full Moon.

Why is the Full Moon special in July?

First off, the Full Moon in July 2022 is a Supermoon. Then, according to the calculations of the former NASA astrophysicist Fred Espenak, it’s the 3rd Supermoon in a row. We’ve already had the Supermoons on May 16 and June 14 and will enjoy one more on August 12. At last, the July Full Moon is the largest Supermoon in 2022! The Full Moon will be 357,264 km (221,994 miles) from the Earth, which is the closest perigee of the year. As a comparison, the farthest Full Moon on January 17, 2022, passed 401,023 km (249,184 miles) from the Earth. The closer our natural satellite comes to the Earth, the bigger and brighter it appears in the sky.

What is a Supermoon?

A Supermoon is a Full or New Moon at or near (within 90% of) the closest approach to the Earth in a given orbit. Since we can’t see a New Moon in the sky, the hype is mostly about the Super Full Moons. The number of Supermoons in a year may vary depending on what method you choose to count them. You can learn more about this topic in our new article.

Will the July Supermoon look extraordinarily big?

The July Supermoon will look about 7% bigger and 16% brighter than an average Full Moon. If you take two pictures of the Full Moons at the closest and farthest points from the Earth with the same camera settings, you’ll see the size difference. But in the sky, we don’t have the second Moon to compare, so it’s tough to notice that the Moon is bigger than usual. It’s still fun to observe, but don’t get your hopes up about seeing the enormous lunar disk.

There is another way to see a bigger Full Moon, even if it’s not close to the Earth. Due to the trick of our brains called the “Moon illusion,” the lunar disk seems larger when it’s close to the horizon. The Moon hangs low in the sky in the summer months, so the lunar disk will look bigger in the Northern Hemisphere in July. Also, enjoy the big Full Moon when it rises and sets — right after sunset or before dawn.

What color will the July Supermoon be?

The July Supermoon will be closer to the horizon in the Northern Hemisphere, so it won’t only look bigger but also may change the color. When the Moon is low, its light passes through more air, so it can look orange, pink, or red — the same effect causes our beautiful sunsets. To see the intense color, enjoy the view at the moonrise or moonset.

When is the next Supermoon?

As we said above, there are different ways to calculate Supermoons. If we use the table that belongs to the Supermoon term creator, the American astrologer Richard Nolle, the next Super New Moon will be on December 23, 2022. For the next Super Full Moon, we’ll have to wait until August 1, 2023.

The former NASA astrophysicist Fred Espenak, who counted all of the Full and New Moons within 90% of the month’s perigee, suggested a tighter schedule. By this definition, the next Super Full Moon will already be on August 12, 2022. You can learn more about Supermoons in our infographic and share it with your friends on social media.

What is the July Full Moon called?

In different cultures, Full Moons often receive names that reflect the peculiarities of a particular season. For example, the July Full Moon is sometimes called the Halfway Summer Moon because it rises in the middle of summer in the Northern Hemisphere. Its other common name is Thunder Moon because of the frequent thunderstorms in July.

Full Buck Moon

According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, the popular Native American name for the July Full Moon is the Buck Moon. The young male deer (bucks) are sprouting new antlers this time of the year. By the end of July, most bucks’ antlers are fully formed, and the hardening process begins.

July Full Moon alternative names

Here are some other July Full Moon names coined by different cultures:

  • Chinese: Hungry Ghost Moon;
  • Celtic: Moon of Claiming;
  • Wiccan: Mead Moon;
  • Cherokee: Ripe Corn Moon;
  • Southern Hemisphere: Wolf Moon, Old Moon, Ice Moon.

How to observe a Super Full Moon?

The Super Full Moon will be seen all night long if the weather is good and no obstacles hinder your view. You can easily observe it with the naked eye or take a pair of binoculars or a small telescope to explore its craters. If you decide to use optics, better take filters because the Moon will be pretty bright — it won’t harm your eyes, but the shadows on the lunar surface will get fainter. Also, use the app Sky Tonight to find out the exact time and properties of the Full Moon for your location. If you want to take a stunning photo of this month’s Supermoon, the app Ephemeris will help you set up the composition by showing you how the lunar disk will look in a chosen location.

When does a Full Moon rise?

A Full Moon occurs when the Moon is on the opposite side of the Earth from the Sun. That’s why it rises around sunset and sets just before dawn, so generally, we can only see the exact moment of the full phase in the night part of the Earth. On July 13, the Moon will reach the full phase at 18:37 GMT (2:37 p.m. EDT); check with Sky Tonight if it is above the horizon by that time in your location. There are special cases, though, when the Full Moon can be seen together with the Sun. This effect is caused by refraction and the tilt of the Moon’s orbit.

How long does a Full Moon last?

Astronomically speaking, the exact moment of the Full Moon is short. It happens when the Moon is fully illuminated by the Sun. But the Moon will seem full to the observers the day before or after this moment; the lunar disk will be more than 98% illuminated. So, don’t worry if you miss the exact moment of the full phase — you can still enjoy the Full Moon in the sky!

When is the next Full Moon?

The next Full Moon is on August 12, 2022. Find the whole list of the Full Moons in 2022 with their traditional names in our infographic.

Enjoy this year’s brightest and biggest Supermoon and explore the night sky. We wish you great observations!

Text Credit: Vito Technology, Inc.



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