It’s the final full moon of spring 2022, and people call it the strawberry supermoon. The name “strawberry moon” dates back to colonial times and perhaps native Americans. It has nothing to do with the Moon’s color but the fact that the last of spring or first of summer full moon comes when strawberries are ripening. This year, it’s a supermoon because it comes when the Moon is closest to Earth.
Our Moon has a slightly elliptical orbit, bringing it closer or farther away during the year. On average, it is about 30 Earth diameters away, and the distance varies by about one Earth diameter. That is just enough to make the size difference barely noticeable. The point when the Moon is closest to Earth is called perigee, and today it just happens to be 222,238 miles (357,658 km). That isn’t maximum perigee, but it is close enough to earn the title strawberry supermoon.
No matter what anyone tells you, the Moon is not about to crash into the Earth. In fact, it is gradually moving away from Earth at about 3.8 cm per year. At that rate, you don’t have to worry about the Moon flying off into space in your lifetime. Also, despite rumors to the contrary, you don’t have to worry about the full moon making you crazy or increasing psychiatric traumas, murders, or other crimes. Since criminals like the cover of darkness, perhaps the extra light at night might discourage nefarious activity, but I haven’t seen any statistics on that. Everyone knows that the gravity of the Moon is the main cause of ocean tides, but the slight difference in gravity from supermoons makes a negligible difference.
The strawberry supermoon peaked at 7:51 a.m. EDT (1151 GMT) on Tuesday morning, June 14, but you may not have been able to see it then. It will still look almost full tonight, so as you admire it, thank God for our wonderful Moon. It won’t crash into Earth, make you crazy, or cause an increase in crimes. However, our Moon does have many life-supporting functions, as we have discussed before. Below are links to some of our previous postings.
— Roland Earnst © 2022
Why Does the Moon Look Larger Near the Horizon?
Our Essential Moon and Life on Earth
Opening the Suez Canal by the Moon’s Gravity
Moon Record in the Solar System