It’s only two weeks into July 2022 and already significant progress has been made in the world of aerospace. The James Webb Space Telescope has revealed the universe’s deepest field of galaxies yet, NASA progressed further with its Mars Ascent Vehicle and the craft’s assignment to retrieve blast rock and atmospheric samples from the red planet; and a Skywatcher, Giuseppe Donatiello, found an ultra-dwarf galaxy, ‘Pegasus V’, considered a fossil of the first galaxies to have existed, packed with stars as ancient as can be.
Even more exciting news is on the horizon that’s a little more accessible to the rest of us - July’s supermoon. This month’s supermoon, or ‘Buck Moon’, is set to grace the skies as a great, buttery, yellow orb halfway through the month. The largest full moon of 2022 so far!
What is a Buck Moon?
You may have heard the term ‘supermoon’ before. A supermoon is a laymen’s term for ‘perigee syzygy’ - a full moon that closely coincides with perigee, or, the nearest proximity the Moon comes to the Earth in its elliptical orbit.
A full moon 90 percent or closer to perigee is classified as a supermoon. But what about the moniker associated with this month’s lunar affair? The Full Moon in the month of July is referred to as a ‘Buck Moon’ after the antlers of male deer that happen to be in full growth at this time of the year.
Over the ages, different cultures have ascribed names to the full moons spanning the lunar calendar. Many of the nicknames recognised today have their roots in Native American culture since the lunar cycle was a highly important method of timekeeping for indigenous people.
Later adopted by Colonial Americans, these epithets soon found their way into popular culture. ‘Wolf Moon’ for the January Moon, when wolves would howl lamenting the paucity of food in midwinter. ‘Worm Moon’ for the turn of spring, and ‘Cold Moon’ for the full moon seen in the depths of frost.
The various names commonly given to the moon each month can be found in a book titled Old Father’s Almanac - a reference book containing astronomical data, long-range weather forecasts, planting charts, recipes, and other articles. July’s Buck Moon, as listed in the almanac, is also sometimes referred to as ‘Thunder Moon’ after the storms that tend to hit in the mid-summer months.
How can you see Buck Moon 2022?
According to NASA (they’re certainly our best bet), Buck Moon 2022 is set to reach its peak on Wednesday evening, July 13th, 2022, at 19.37pm in the UK (GMT+1).
We will be able to see this lunation, unlike many astrological phenomena requiring a telescope to be seen by the naked eye, on clear spells for four entire evenings. We hope you get to see it! We’ll undoubtedly be on the lookout to catch a glimpse of Buck Moon 2022.