Just looked out the window and saw the huge supermoon – WOW ! – GL
Supermoons: How Can They Affect You?
You’ve likely heard about the incredible power of a New Moon or a Full Moon in astrology. Moon phases have great influence on our behavior and emotions as well as natural elements like ocean tides. While you may think that all New and Full Moons are alike, in actuality they are quite different depending on their proximity to the Earth. When the Moon is closer to the Earth than usual, it results in a Supermoon.
What Is a Supermoon?
If you think about the relationship among the Earth, Moon and Sun, it is one of great movement and activity. The Moon orbits the Earth, the Earth orbits the Sun and we are all on an amazing galactic journey through space.
When the Moon is closer to the Earth than usual, it results in a Supermoon.
As the Moon orbits the Earth elliptically, at certain times it will pass closer to us than others. This is known as perigee and the Moon will often appear up to one-sixteenth larger when full. This is only one part of the Supermoon set up. The other portion involved the direct alignment of the Earth, Moon and Sun, called syzygy. When both conditions are met—voila! —You have a Supermoon.
The term Supermoon was originally coined by astrologer Richard Nolle back in 1979 for an article published in Horoscope magazine. Thanks to him we have a much easier term to use for what astronomers call perigee-syzygy. And while you may think these occurrences are rare, Supermoons happen about four to six times a year, just like eclipses.
Supermoons and Natural Phenomena
As you are probably aware, the Moon has a great deal of power over the Earth, particularly when it comes to ocean tides. When we experience a Supermoon, the tidal force is often greater—up to 18 percent. Although that sounds extreme, scientists tell us that much depends on the amplitude of tides and their variation around the world. Even so, a Supermoon will result in a noticeably stronger tidal wave force.
It has also been observed that other forces of nature may be impacted by the gravitational pull of a Supermoon. Occasionally events like volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and severe weather have happened within a week or so of a Supermoon. Among the most notable examples were the 2011 earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand and New Orleans’s Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Supermoons and You
Besides the potential impact of natural disasters, how else can a Supermoon affect you? Astrologically speaking a Supermoon is an intensified New Moon or Full Moon. With a New Moon you often focus on personal beginnings, however when a Supermoon is involved those new beginnings will take on an even greater momentous tone. The same applies to a Full Moon. Crescendos and culminations of events will seem even more dramatic and climactic.
The Moon is also associated with emotions and our feminine sides. When a Supermoon is involved expect to be even more emotional than usual. Tears and laughter will come more easily, moods will suffer extreme swings and there will be no shortage of drama—both good and bad.
The Moon’s effects will also cast its light on women in particular. Mothers, daughter, sisters and friends may be noticeably affected by the intensified energies. Husbands, fathers and boyfriends may be dismayed or exasperated by the behavior of females during these transits.
Emotional storms will come and go. These are opportunities for people to learn how to deal with feelings while developing patience and understanding. It is also a chance to grow closer. Not all emotions will be negative and floods of love and happiness can wash over us too. Supermoons can have all of us getting in touch with our feminine sides.
The next Supermoons due for 2013 are on May 25, June 23 and July 22. Prepare for the tidal wave of energy and embrace the opportunity for growth.
What is a supermoon?
Expect high tides around Jan. 1 and 30, 2014
We in astronomy used to call them perigean new moons or perigean full moons, that is, new or full moons closely coinciding with perigee – the moon’s closest point to Earth in its orbit. But, in accordance with the rapidly evolving skylore of the modern world, we now enjoy calling them supermoons. The name supermoon was coined by an astrologer, Richard Nolle, over 30 years ago. It was popularized and came to be the accepted term for most people only in the past few years. Are supermoons hype? In our opinion … gosh, no, just modern folklore. And they can cause real physical effects, such as larger-than-usual tides. The year 2014 has a total of five supermoons. They are the two new moons of January, and the full moons of July, August and September. Next supermoon: July 12. Follow the links below to learn about the supermoons of 2014.
What is a supermoon? We confess: before a few years ago, we in astronomy had never heard that term. To the best of our knowledge, astrologer Richard Nolle coined the term supermoon over 30 years ago. The term has only recently come into popular usage. Nolle has defined a supermoon as:
… a new or full moon which occurs with the moon at or near (within 90% of) its closest approach to Earth in a given orbit.
That’s a pretty generous definition and allows for many supermoons. By this definition, according to Nolle:
There are 4-6 supermoons a year on average.
The moon is full, or opposite Earth from the sun, once each month. It’s new, or more or less between the Earth and sun, once each month. And, every month, as the moon orbits Earth, it comes closest to Earth. That point is called perigee. The moon always swings farthest away once each month; that point is called apogee.
No doubt about it. Supermoon is a catchier term than perigee new moon or perigee full moon.
We first became familiar with the supermoon label in the year 2011 when the media used it to describe the full moon of March 19, 2011. On that date, the full moon aligned with proxigee – the closest perigee of the year – to stage the closest, largest full moon of 2011.
When are the next supermoons in 2014? By Nolle’s definition, the new moon or full moon has to come within 361,863 kilometers (224,851 miles) of our planet, as measured from the centers of the moon and Earth, in order to be considered a supermoon.
By that definition, the year 2014 has a total of five supermoons. The first supermoon, for 2014, came on New Year’s Day, with the January 1 new moon. The second came with the new moon of January 30, 2014. The full moons of July, August and September will also be supermoons, by Nolle’s definition. Thus, the next supermoons – aka perigee full moons – in 2014 are:
Full moon of July 12 at 11:25 UTC
Full moon of August 10 at 18:09 UTC
Full moon of September 9 at 1:38 UTC
The full moon on August 10, 2014, will present the closest supermoon of the year (356,896 kilometers or 221,765 miles).
However, the new moons on January 1 and January 30 were not far behind, featuring the year’s second-closest and third-closest supermoons, respectively. On January 1, the moon turned new less than 10 hours before reaching lunar perigee – the moon’s closest point to Earth in its orbit. On January 30, the moon turned new nearly 12 hours after reaching lunar perigee.
Want more detail? Okay. In 2014, the moon comes closest to Earth on August 10 (356,896 kilometers), and swings farthest away some two weeks before, on July 28 (406,567 kilometers). That’s a difference of 49,671 kilometers (406,567 – 356,896 = 49,671). Ninety percent of this 49,671-figure equals 44,703.9 kilometers (0.9 x 49,671 = 44,703.9). Presumably, any new or full moon coming closer than 361,863.1 kilometers (406,567 – 44,703.9 = 361,863.1) would be “at or near (within 90% of) its closest approach to Earth.”
Spring tides will accompany the July, August and September supermoons. Will the tides be larger than usual at the July, August and September 2014 full moons? Yes, all full moons (and new moons) combine with the sun to create larger-than-usual tides, but perigee full moons (or perigee new moons) elevate the tides even more.
Each month, on the day of the new moon, the Earth, moon and sun are aligned, with the moon in between. This line-up creates wide-ranging tides, known as spring tides. High spring tides climb up especially high, and on the same day low tides plunge especially low.
The July, August and September extra-close full moons will accentuate the spring tide, giving rise to what’s called a perigean spring tide. If you live along an ocean coastline, watch for high tides caused by these full moons.
Will these high tides cause flooding? Probably not, unless a strong weather system accompanies the perigean spring tide. Still, keep an eye on the weather, because storms do have a large potential to accentuate perigean spring tides.
Dates of closest full supermoons in past and future years. More often than not, the one day of the year that the full moon and perigee align also brings about the year’s closest perigee (also called proxigee). Because the moon has recurring cycles, we can count on the full moon and perigee to come in concert in periods of about one year, one month and 18 days.
Therefore, the full moon and perigee realign in periods of about one year and 48 days. So we can figure the dates of the closest full moons in recent and future years as:
March 19, 2011
May 6, 2012
June 23, 2013
August 10, 2014
September 28, 2015
November 14, 2016
January 2, 2018.
There won’t be a perigee full moon in 2017 because the full moon and perigee won’t realign again (after November 14, 2016) until January 2, 2018.
By the way, some astronomers will call all the full moons listed above proxigee full moons.
But, like you, we’ll have fun just calling ‘em supermoons.
What is a Black Moon? We had never heard the term Black Moon until early 2014. It doesn’t come from astronomy, or skylore, either. Instead, according to David Harper, the term comes from Wiccan culture. It’s the name for the second of two new moons in a month. January 2014, for example, had two new moons. Does a Black Moon have to be a supermoon in order to be called Black? No. You can read more about Black Moons here.
The next Black Moon by the second-of-two-new-moons-in-one-calendar-month definition will occur on October 30, 2016. Sten Odenwald at astronomycafe.net lists some other names for the second new moon in a calendar month: Spinner Moon, Finder’s Moon, Secret Moon.
However, we’ve also come across another definition for Black Moon: the third of four new moons to occur in one season. In 2015, the new moon coming on February 18 will present the third of four new moons in between the December 2014 solstice and the March 2015 equinox. This February 18, 2015 Black Moon will also be the closest new moon supermoon of 2015, but, once again, a seasonal Black Moon doesn’t necessarily have to be a supermoon.
Bottom line: The term supermoon doesn’t come from astronomy. It comes from astrology, and the definition is pretty generous so that there are 4 to 6 supermoons each year. This post explains what a supermoon is, how many will occur in 2014, which moon is the most “super” of all the 2014 supermoons, and gives a list of upcoming full supermoons for the years ahead.