Night Sky

By Collin O’Mara-Green

The Moon is always Super!

Image: NASA / USGS / The Planetary Society

The internet was again awash with click-bait titles regarding the SuperMoon. Terms once relegated to the Farmer’s Almanac now explode into eye-catching posts like “Don’t miss the rare Full Harvest Strawberry Blue Supermoon!” Here’s what some of those titles really mean.

The terms “Harvest”, “Strawberry” and others denote a full moon’s timing with agricultural seasons, like when it’s time to harvest or when strawberries are ripe. A “Blue Moon” refers to the second full moon in a month, or the fourth in a season, not the moon’s color. The infrequency of these calendar timings lead to the term “Once in a Blue Moon”, meaning not that common.

And the overhyped “Supermoon” descriptor! Ugh, this is a tough one for space and science enthusiasts to hear, because we think the moon is always super! And the fact that “Supermoon” is not an actual astronomical term. The Moon’s orbit around Earth is not a perfect circle but more of an offset oval, or ellipse. When the Moon is slightly closer to Earth than other times, it’s called a perigee moon with a mostly unnoticeable bump to size and brightness.

So always look at the moon, in all of its phases. Not just when it’s close and full!

Keep lookin’ up!

Leave a Reply