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Super Strawberry Moon on the rise as first supermoon of 2022

By Brian Lada, Accuweather.com
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Super Strawberry Moon on the rise as first supermoon of 2022
A Pink Supermoon rises behind the Statue of Liberty on April 26, 2021. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Summer isn't the only season that begins this month. June also marks the start of supermoon season for astronomy lovers.

Supermoons are annual occurrences happening in sets of three or four and provide sky watchers and photographers with great opportunities to observe Earth's celestial companion.

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This year features a trilogy of supermoons with the first of the trio rising on the night of Monday into Tuesday.

The viral nickname was coined by an astrologer in 1979, but it does have some astronomical merit.

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As the moon orbits around the Earth, it does so in the shape of a misshapen oval called an ellipse rather than in a perfect circle. As a result, there are times when the moon is closer to the Earth (perigee) and times when it is farther away (apogee).

A supermoon occurs when there is a full moon around the same time that the moon is near perigee, causing it to look slightly bigger and slightly brighter than other full moons throughout the year. Conversely, a full moon that occurs near apogee appears slightly smaller and is referred to as a micro moon.

The difference between these two types of full moons is almost imperceptible and can only really be noticed in a side-by-side photo comparison.

The apparent size of a supermoon (R) compared to a micro moon (L). Image courtesy of NASA Scientific Visualization Studio
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Although the appearance may not be noticeable to the naked eye, it can still have an influence on the Earth.

"When the moon is close, Earth's diameter is a slightly larger fraction of the Earth-moon separation," NASA explained.

The gravitational pull of a supermoon can also cause high tides to be higher than normal, which could amplify coastal flooding. This can be worsened if there is a tropical storm or hurricane churning near the coast in the days surrounding a supermoon.

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Supermoon or not, June's full moon has been given many nicknames over the years with the most popular being the Strawberry Moon, according to the Old Farmer's Almanac.

Because of this alternate nickname, the upcoming full moon is being referred to as the Super Strawberry Moon.

After June, the next supermoon will rise on July 13, followed by the last supermoon of 2022 on Aug. 11.

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