14 June 2022
The moon reaches its full phase on Tuesday. About 12 hours later, it will also be at perigee, or the closest point to earth in its orbit. This earns it a supermoon label.
On Monday or Tuesday, look to the rising moon in the east after sunset, or setting moon in the west before sunrise if you are an early riser. Both days offer opportunities to see the moon at its brightest because it is at its fullest Tuesday morning, just before 8 a.m.
Supermoon isn’t a scientific term. It was created by an astrologer (not astronomer) in the 70s. The concept lay dormant for a couple of decades until it gained attention again. We aren’t really sure why.
In additional the astrological definition, a NASA astrophysicist, an astronomy magazine, a radio series and and a website focused on time and date calculations each came up with their own slightly different definition. This is why you will see sometimes supermoon mentioned in some places but not others.
The full moons on July 13 and August 11 will also be super. This chart offers a full list of supermoons through 2025. You can also click through to the Python code which figures it all out by calculating when the moon reaches full phase (every 29.53 days) and perigee (every 27.32 days). That difference is why we only get a few supermoons each year.
Beginning tonight, as the moon turns fuller, it will move through the constellation Scorpius. It will pass the bright star Antares, known to astronomers as “the heart of the scorpion”.
Antares is often confused for mars because of its slightly reddish color. While the planet mars is just over 200 million miles away, Antares is a red supergiant star over 550 light years away and about 12 times more massive than our sun.