The moon orbits Earth once every 27.5 days. Astronomers call that time span a sidereal month, and during that period the moon goes through its various phases from new moon to crescent, first quarter, gibbous and finally full before completing the cycle in reverse and returning to a new moon.
The full moon that’s scheduled to occur on June 23, though, is extra special. That’s because, in its orbit around Earth, the moon doesn’t follow a circular path. Instead, its distance varies from 405,696 km at its farthest point (apogee) to 363,104 km at its closest point (perigee).
The June 23 full moon just happens to coincide, within a matter of minutes in fact, with the moon being at perigee. Because of the extra closeness, that means the moon will be 14 per cent larger and 30 per cent brighter than a typical full moon. To herald that occasion, astronomers have coined the term supermoon.
Assuming the weather cooperates, the moon should be visible in the east around sunset, and I believe it’s scheduled to be at peak fullness at 4:33 a.m. MST on the morning of June 23. That’s a spectacle that will be available to most of humanity. If you happen to be in Regina, though, there’s a special event called Full Moon Community Choir and Processional that’s happening Sunday evening from 9-10 p.m. It’s being organized by the Dunlop Art Gallery, and will take place in the vicinity of Central Library. For more information call 306-777-6040.