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Farmers Almanac
The 2014 Farmers Almanac
Farmers' Almanac

Summer’s Supermoon

Summer’s Supermoon

Twice each month, the Sun, Earth and Moon form a straight (or nearly straight) line in space, called a “syzygy.”  At these times, the Moon is either at full or new phase and we can expect tides to run somewhat higher than normal.  Twice each year, once at full and once at new phase, the Moon will also be very near perigee, its closest point to the Earth.  These perigee Moons can produce the highest tides of the year.

On August 10th at 2 p.m. EDT, the Moon will arrive at its closest point to the Earth in 2014:  a perigee distance of 221,765 miles away.  Just nine minutes later, the Moon will officially turn full.  Though full Moon theoretically lasts just a moment, the moment is imperceptible to ordinary observation, and for a day or two before and after most will speak of seeing the nearly full Moon as “full” (the shaded strip is so narrow, and changing in apparent width so slowly, that it is hard for the naked eye to tell whether it’s present or on which side it is).

The near coincidence of the August 10th full Moon with perigee will result in a dramatically large range of high and low ocean tides.  Any coastal storm at sea around this time will almost certainly aggravate coastal flooding problems.  Such an extreme tide is known as a perigean spring tide, the word spring being derived from the German springen – to “spring up,” not a reference to the spring season.

Every month, “spring tides” occur when the Moon is full and new.  At these times the Moon and Sun form a line with the Earth, so their tidal effects add together.  (The Sun exerts a little less than half the tidal force of the Moon.) “Neap tides,” on the other hand, occur when the Moon is at first and last quarter and works cross-purposes with the Sun.  At these times tides are weak.

For those who are well versed in mathematics, tidal force varies as the inverse cube of an objects distance. This month the Moon is 12.2 percent closer at perigee than it was at its extreme apogee – its farthest point from Earth in 2014 – on July 27. Therefore, on August 10th, the Moon will exert about 42 percent more tidal force compared to the spring tides just two weeks earlier.

The 2014 Observer’s Handbook of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada refers to the August 10th Moon as the “largest full Moon in 2014,” – in recent years, a popular connotation for a full Moon that coincides with perigee has been “Supermoon” – the variation of the Moon’s distance is not readily apparent to observers viewing the Moon directly.  To those living near the Bay of Fundy in eastern Canada, however, the rapid increase in the vertical tidal range of as much as 20 feet or more makes it quite obvious when the Moon is near perigee, whether the sky is clear or cloudy!

31 comments

1 david { 08.09.14 at 10:12 pm }

i concur ms.Amy!!!

2 Cindy { 08.09.14 at 7:39 pm }

I don’t think it ever affected me. It is just the moon & It is beautiful just like the sunsets & sunrises & everything we take pictures of nature.

3 JW { 08.09.14 at 5:06 pm }

I was told by several old fisherman, that four days before and four days after the full moon, Crabs would be full and fat. Sorry but that is ( not ) true. So we burst another lunar bubble.

4 amy { 08.09.14 at 3:00 am }

I love the science bits. Let us examine some often overlooked facts when citing these studies. 1.) Your body is over 3/4 water and moon phase clearly has an impact on tides and water. 2) the human body along with many other creatures are programmed to respond to light both through skin and eyes. With that in mind i find it silly to dismiss the possibility that moon phase affects behavior.

5 Becki { 08.08.14 at 10:10 pm }

I worked in a redneck country club for 8 years & yes they got drunker & crazier on a full moon!

6 Leona Daniels { 08.08.14 at 6:25 pm }

That explains a lot

7 ROBYNRAE { 08.08.14 at 4:11 pm }

As an RN working Psych and ER, I can tell you that nights before a full moon and a full moon does have an effect on people. We work our butts off bc all types of people are brought in the hospital. In the Psych the crazes are really way off the wall and I seen things that would make you blush, laugh, and cry. The same with the ER. I know that A FULL MOON EFFECTS PEOPLE SOME WAY BUT WE DON’t KNOW HOW .

8 ROBYNRAE { 08.08.14 at 4:05 pm }

I was an RN and worked Psych and ER and every night there was a full moon actually nights leading up to the full moon then the full moon were crazy. We worked our butts off bc if the psych pts going extra crazy then there people who would come in that were drunk and high that were respected people that normally don’t do these things. I know that a FULL MOON EFFECTS PEOPLE SOME WAY AND MAKES THEM OFF THE WALL.

9 ROBYNRAE { 08.08.14 at 4:00 pm }

I was an RN and worked in Psych and ER and when there was a full moon it was always crazy. The psychotics were really out and off their meds and it was always so busy in either hospital. You can’t. Tell me full moons don’t have affects on people bc somehow it does. I agree with all the ones that dealt with extra crazy work on the nights on full moons.

10 barb Rexford { 08.08.14 at 7:31 am }

Anyone know what time for central time zone???

11 Diana Harris { 08.08.14 at 3:31 am }

I worked in a mental institution for years and I bet if the charts were analyzed, they would prove that the full moons definitely effects the mentally ill.

12 Mary Ann Sullivan { 08.07.14 at 10:10 pm }

I worked 27 for 911 chicago fire department. We use to dread full moon during the summer especially on the week ends. It would be so busy with crazy unusual incidents!!!

13 Mary Ann Sullivan { 08.07.14 at 10:09 pm }

I worked 27 for 911 chicago fire department. We use to dread full moon during the summer especially on the week ends. It would be so busy with crazy unusual incidents!!!not to mention lots of babies!!

14 Lueann Cullen { 08.07.14 at 5:25 pm }

Facts in my life ,My close relations have all passed a way on a full moon,And things come to a conclusion on a full moon.

15 fullmooncraze { 08.07.14 at 10:42 am }

Don’t really care what science says. They can graph all they want. You can ask any Officer what a full moon brings…. We prep for full moons. Hens forth ” Full moon craze”!

16 Joe Greene { 08.06.14 at 8:24 pm }

To my knowledge I have never seen, what is called a supermoon. I’ll be watching on August
10 at 2PM and 2:09

17 Kim ballan { 08.06.14 at 6:26 pm }

ive ever seen a super moon in a long time.

18 TheBingeThinker { 08.06.14 at 5:22 pm }

Maybe the births that occur on a full moon are more memorable, emotional, faster or some other behavior characteristic that makes them less than ordinary, and therefore stand out in the doctors and nurses minds more. I know more cops are out patrolling on a full moon (I was told so by a cop). Not only because people are more kooky, but they can simply see better at night, and have a better chance of catching them in the act.

19 Hope Scholl { 08.06.14 at 5:14 pm }

Just wondering how this phenomena will impact hurricanes Iselle and Julio moving in on Hawaii.

20 Joni { 08.06.14 at 4:44 pm }

We had more crime done and more juveniles brought in during a full moon. My mom used to cut my hair when I was little by the full moon. YES it does affect things. If it affects oceans (tides) then it could affect people too. Put your science crap away.

21 Paula { 08.06.14 at 4:28 pm }

I totally agree that the full moon affects people and moods! I for one am affected greatly!

22 Rhonda { 08.06.14 at 4:24 pm }

Interestingly, the article didn’t mention that this will be the second Supermoon of this year… when they normally only occur every 13 months, 18 days. We had one on July 12th, and there will be another one, next month. We will also have 3 Supermoons in consecutive months of July, August and September, next year. Along with the Blood Moon Tetrad that we are in the midst of now, we have some mighty unusual astronomical activity going on.

23 Betty E { 08.06.14 at 3:33 pm }

I work in a hospital, and contrary to what Cheryl W says, there are more babies born on the full moon. The moon influences much more than we understand.

24 Roxanne { 08.06.14 at 1:43 pm }

I work with the public and it never fails, when it is full moon people do act crazy or emotional without realizing the moon is having an affect on their emotions. It never fails.

25 christieirene { 08.06.14 at 11:34 am }

Try working in any customer service job on a full moon. They do turn on you!

26 Cheryl W { 08.06.14 at 10:51 am }

sorry to burst your lunar bubble with science, but the moon does not bring about labor, crime, or mental conditions even though people perceive it that way. Look at this study http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/people-crazy-full-moon-article-1.1204988
what is interesting is that the doctors and nurses when asked said “Yes” but when you looked at the hard data, their perception did not agree with fact.

27 Gary Hirsch { 08.06.14 at 10:01 am }

All true, now we wait and watch for the seismic events and the behavior of the LUNATICS that are susceptible to the “cause and effect” of such astrological occurrences.

28 Gary Hirsch { 08.06.14 at 9:56 am }

All to true, now the reality of it… cause and effect…watch for seismic events, keep an eye on the LUNATICS

29 Connor { 08.06.14 at 9:46 am }

I agree with Steve! Through experience, I have found that our Moon affects everything. However, we have a responsibility to teach people and we must find a way; thus eliminating that branch of ignorance. I find it hard to get my points across. Perhaps it is because many people believe they know it all, missing out on the state of mind required to learn. Learners are many times humble and appreciative.

30 Cheryl Becker { 08.06.14 at 9:36 am }

will definitely watch for this!!

31 Stevie Smith { 08.06.14 at 9:16 am }

Very interesting to me. Most people, especially young have no idea how the moon effects every thing.

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