When to See the Biggest, Brightest Full Moon of the Year

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July’s full moon is the event of the year, lunatics: The biggest, brightest moon of 2022 rises on July 13. Look to the Southeastern part of the sky at moonrise for a lunar treat.

July’s full moon will be at its absolute peak of illumination at 2:37 ET, but we won’t be able to see it in America because the Earth is in the way. It will still be very bright when it rises for us later. For the exact moonrise time in your neck of the woods, check out the Old Farmer’s Almanac’s moonrise and moonset calculator.

Nicknamed “Buck Moon” or “Thunder Moon,” July’s full moon is a supermoon. It will appear brighter and bigger than usual for a simple reason: It’s closer to us. The moon will be about 222,089 miles from Earth this month, about 150 miles closer than it was in June—and June was a supermoon month too.

The Buck Moon will appear about 7% larger than usual (which honestly isn’t that much.) The real way to see the moon looking its biggest is to catch it when it’s closest to the horizon. The moon isn’t actually any larger then than when it’s higher in the night sky, but it seems larger because we have things on Earth to compare it to.

Why is July’s full moon called the Buck Moon or Thunder Moon?

The name “Buck Moon” is said to be derived from the lunar calendar of Native Americans, because this is the time of year when a buck’s antlers are at full growth. Another popular name for July’s moon is “Thunder Moon,” because there are a lot of summer thunderstorms in July, particularly on the East Coast. Other native American Moon names for July include “Feather Moulting Moon,” a Cree name; “Berry Moon” from the Anishinaabe; and the very specific Dakota name, “Moon When the Chokecherries are Ripe.”

It may be summer here, but it’s winter on the other side of the world, so the Maori, the natives of New Zealand in the Southern Hemisphere, call this moon/lunar month Hongonui, and describe it as, “Man is now extremely cold and kindles fires before which he basks.”

What time is it on the moon?

If you want to know what time it is on the moon, there are two ways of looking at the answer. The first is, “It’s the same time on the moon as it is on Earth.” Our system of measuring time, “Universal Time,” applies to everything in the Universe.

But if you lived on the moon, saying it is “June 21, 2022, at 3 p.m.” wouldn’t be useful, because Earth-time is based on the position of the planet relative to the sun (and atomic clocks), not the position of the moon. On Luna, Earth-months start at different “seasons” in different years, years have nothing to do with the orbit of the moon, and sometimes noon would be in the middle of the night—it would be temporal madness.

We hae invented a lunar-centric time system, though. Called “Lunar Standard Time,” this system divides a lunar year into 12 “days,” each about an Earth-month long. Each day is divided into 30 “cycles” that are about an Earth-hour long.

The calendar began when Neil Armstrong first stepped onto the Lunar surface, Earth-time 02:56 GMT, July 21, 1969. Moon time: Year 1, day 1, cycle 1. But since no one lives on the moon (that we know about), it’s not a very useful calendar.


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