By Kathreen Kaye Dacanay
Last July 14, we saw the moon appearing a little larger in the night sky. This astronomical event is one of the beautiful periodic sights in the world of astronomy.

Photo Courtesy of Lifestyle Asia

But what exactly is the science behind this "super" phenomenon — the supermoon?

Long before Galileo’s first astronomical discovery, there had lived a philosopher born in Clazomenae in the 5th century B.C.E named after a Greek City of Ionian Asia – Anaxagoras. He was one of the first few people in history to recognize the moon as a rocky, mountainous body. Thus, he is remembered for his cosmology and discovery of the cause of eclipses. Today, people are handed ample information about the moon and some of the mysteries of the universe.

The moon is the only natural satellite of the Earth; it changes its phase throughout the whole year. There are eight phases of the moon and is as follows:
  • New moon
  • Waxing crescent moon
  • First quarter moon
  • Waxing gibbous moon
  • Full moon
  • Waning gibbous moon
  • Last quarter moon
  • Waning crescent moon

However, there is a specific phenomenon that happens around three or four times a year in which a full moon is closest to Earth and gets the prefix ‘super’ when it is at perigee. It makes the moon appear bigger and brighter than it usually is, but the difference in size may be indistinguishable in the human eye.

There are four supermoons this 2022; May 16, June 14, July 13, and August 12. The distance of the full moon is at 357,417.824 km as of July 13 at 5:06 pm, and would be a full moon at perigee on July 14 at 2:38 am. It is considered the biggest full moon of the year.

According to NASA, the moon may appear up to 17% bigger and 30% brighter than the average supermoon. While supermoon is the usual name, some call this event Buck Moon because of the antlers of male deers that grow during this time of the year.

According to Forbes and the Natural History Museum, recent studies have showcased that this kind of phenomenon causes higher water levels and dramatic natural events due to the gravitational forces of the sun and moon and their effect on the ocean tides. However, much is yet to be studied to confirm these findings.

The closest full moon since January 26, 1948, was recorded on November 14, 2016, at 356,509 km. It won’t come as close to Earth until November 25, 2034.