The Biggest & Brightest Supermoon of the Year Arrives This Week

July's full moon is the third straight supermoon this year.

supermoon july 2022
Ann Stryzhekin/Shutterstock

Supermoon season is coming to a close. 

"Supermoon season" might not be a thing anyone says, but it rings true at the moment. July's full moon is the third of four consecutive supermoons. The July 13 supermoon is the largest and brightest full moon we'll get in 2022 because it is the full moon where the moon is closest to Earth in its elliptical orbit. 

The moon will reach its closest point to Earth at 5 am on July 13, reports Space.com. The moon will sit a scant 221,994 miles from the closest pizza delivery service. Hours later, the moon will reach its full phase. That technically lasts just a short while, but the moon will look full throughout the night.

july supermoon 2022
Courtesy of NASA/JPL Caltech on YouTube

What is a supermoon?

The name supermoon irritates some who think that the perigee-syzygy moon (the technical term) isn't all that super. At least, it's not super in the same way Superman is super compared to an average human. A standard definition of a supermoon is when the full moon is within 90% of its closest approach to Earth.

At that point, it's around 14% larger and 30% brighter than a micromoon. That isn't the average full moon. A micromoon occurs when the full moon takes place at the furthest point of the moon's orbit from Earth, per NASA. So, a supermoon is only slightly larger and brighter than an average full moon. 

Given the somewhat broad definition of a supermoon, coined by Richard Nolle in 1979, they aren't too rare. There will be four in 2022, with the last arriving on August 11, according to Space.com.

While its super-ness is disputed, the moon will be a bit larger and brighter on July 13. If you enjoy photographing or admiring the moon, it's a great night to do so. If, however, you prefer to stargaze, this won't be an optimal night. The moon's light will cause interference, blocking out dimmer celestial objects.

Ready to go stargazing?

Here are all the best stargazing events that you can get out and see this month or you could stay in a stream the northern lights from home. If you're just getting started, check out our guide to astronomy for beginners or easy stargazing road trips from big US cities.

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Dustin Nelson is a Senior Staff Writer at Thrillist. He's not sure that the Super Friends are really that great of friends. Follow Dustin on Twitter.