More press releases warn for a full moon that will be out of the ordinary. They sometimes declare it “Super”, “Pink”, “Strawberry”, “Blood” … Read this to understand why on June 14, you should not be called Super Strawberry Moon, but Super Strawberry Moon!
Recently, the full moon has been regularly arranged on the net with panoply of insane qualifiers. Thus, for June 14, 2022, the media announced “a Super Strawberry Moon”. The announcement is reminiscent of January 31, 2018, when the web was trembling for “Blood Blue Super-Moon.” This ad is an overflow of North American culture onto us. This is often provoked by NASA press releases, questioning or misinterpreting their shape. Even CNRS communicators get involved. On May 26, 2021, they invited me to visit “Flower Super-Moon” on Twitter. One would imagine that this tweet was made by the astronomers (and not only them) associated with the organization.
And the moon of sturgeon, then!
The concept of Supermoon is controversial. But before that, let’s kill flowers, strawberries and other blue moons. As of January 31, 2018, there is no other reason to add qualifier “Blood” to encourage Internet users to click. A good example of the quality of free information on the web is its development. In fact, it was just a complete lunar eclipse. Once immersed in the shadow of the Earth, our satellite takes on the color of an orange or brick … but a “brick moon” is much less eye-catching! Let’s go to Blue Moon. English speakers use the phrase “once on the blue moon” for something that only happens on a blue moon… which is nothing blue. Thus a full moon is called when it occurs in a month where there has already been a full moon. Since there are 29.5 days between the two full moons, these events are rare: an average of about forty per century. In short, in French, the expression has no meaning. The translation of the blue moon at once will give something like “saint la saint-Glinglin”. The Strawberry Moon of June 14, 2022 is no longer an astronomical reality. The term comes from the 1930s almanac edited by farmers in Maine, USA. They invented a nickname for each month taken from Native American culture: the full moon of wolves, strawberries, sturgeon, predators, etc. These names have become popular in North American culture, but remain quite unusual here.
Let’s come to Supermoon. The story is even more astonishing, as it is an invention of the American astrologer Richard Knoll in 1979. So it is unreasonable to see a mysterious concept adopted by NASA. According to Richard Knoll, a supermoon is a full moon or a new moon that occurs when our satellite is within 90 to 100% of its minimum distance from Earth. The moon has considerable elliptical orbits and its distances vary from 356,700 km to 406,300 km. Following Richard Knoll’s definition, there could be six “super-moons” each year. The concept is therefore not very selective, but very practical for writing astrological predictions.
Articles published on the occasion of Super-Moon often indicate that its size will be much larger than usual. In fact, the full moon in Perigee is 14% wider than the apogee, and only 7% wider than the average distance from Earth. It’s not insignificant, but it’s not too much. In the absence of visual cues, this gap is impossible to perceive with the naked eye. As Supermoon rises, photographers are trying to capture it. This kind of thing gives a spectacular composition, but at the moment our satellite is not the closest. Due to the round shape of the earth, we are closest to the moon when it peaks in the sky. When it rises from the horizon, it is about 6,000 km away! This is about 2% of the Earth-Moon distance, and is not insignificant when you gain only a few percent of the average distance.
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That’s right … for America
Press releases sometimes highlight the fact that the full moon is the closest to X years, even decades. But in reality, from one year to the next these variations affect only a few tens of kilometers. It’s invisible. Only when one thinks of the moon that evening can one be at best intellectually satisfied.
In order to take advantage of this moment, it is still necessary that the exact moment of the full moon occurs when it is visible to the observer. Because if this happens when the star ends up in the antipode, it is already about 1,000 kilometers away when we see our turn. Also, those headlines of NASA releases are often about the favorable situation for North America, not Europe. This is exactly what happened on June 14, because the full moon occurs at 11:53, so it is below the horizon for European observers.
So should we avoid Super-Moon?
There is no reason to avoid Super Moon, although we can put this word aside and talk about Perry’s full moon. The most amazing thing about the phenomenon is not the apparent diameter of our satellite, but its brightness. For example, the full moon of July 13, 2022 will be about 30% brighter than the full moon of December 19, 2021. Moreover, it is always interesting to pay attention to the brightness of the moon when it is full. “The full moon is 12 times brighter than the first trimester, and not twice as much as one might think,” underlined by Jean Lecacheux, an astronomer at the Paris Observatory. This is called phase effect. When the moon is in the trimester, there is a casting shadow on the lowest part of it, from the highest mountain to the smallest pebble. During the full moon, the lunar disc is illuminated by the sun almost from the front. Seen from Earth, so there are no visible shadows on its surface. The gain of brightness is very strong. Experience it yourself. Go out at night with books. After a few minutes of getting used to it, you will find that it is possible to read by simple canopy! And that’s really “great” with the full moon in general and the full moon near the full moon on June 14, 2022 and July 13, 2022 in particular. It is worth noting that the full moon of June 14 is very low, it ends at only 13 in the sky of Paris, it is close to its lowest height. If you extend your hand, it is the width of your fist with your thumb up. In short, it’s not one Super Strawberry MoonBut a Super Strawberry Moon For Northern Hemisphere observers. It doesn’t even rise to polar latitudes.
A very real effect on the tide
Another spectacular phenomenon associated with the full moon: it causes high tides which intensify as it approaches Perigee. When the Earth’s equator faces the sun, the effect around the equator increases. As a result, the tidal coefficient around the full moon in June and July 2022 will be about 100 in Brest. It is on these dates that it is really possible to see the water rise at the speed of a galloping horse at the tip of the hurdle in the bay of Mont Saint-Mitchell or in the bay of Mon. If you are late to see the seal on the huge beach, run! Low tides are also very marked and allow access to areas usually covered by water. After all, the most remarkable thing about Super-Moon is the miracle crop that allows it for shore fishing enthusiasts. This is, in fact, the only reliable prediction, no offense to Nostradamus of all stripes.