WTF Fun Fact 12780 – The Buck Moon

Why is it called the buck moon? Because of bucks, of course.

The Super (Buck) Moon

On July 13, 2022, we’ll see our second supermoon of the year.

According to Science Focus (cited below):

“Supermoons are categorised when the Moon is at 360,000km (or less) away from Earth in its orbital path, and we’ll often see two or three full supermoons in a row. The June full Moon, the Strawberry Moon and the August full Moon, the Sturgeon Moon, are both supermoons.

A supermoon is around 7 per cent larger and 15 per cent brighter than a standard full Moon, or 14 per cent bigger and 30 per cent brighter than a micromoon. This effect is amplified further when the Moon is on the horizon, like it is this month, thanks to the Moon illusion.”

What is a buck moon?

Science Focus described the meaning behind the buck moon. And it really is all about bucks – as in male deer:

“Most species of male deer (bucks) shed and regrow their antlers every year. They shed their antlers in the early spring (or late winter), which then regrow and continue to develop during the summer months. As they grow, the antlers are protected by a thin, velvety layer which hardens, dries and falls away once they’re fully grown. This is why bucks’ antlers often look ‘tatty’ in the summer.

By July, it’s usual to see bucks with full-size antlers in preparation for the autumn breeding season. They’ll need to be in top fettle to compete with other bucks for the best females.

As such, the Algonquin tribe named it the Buck Moon.

Other names for the July full Moon include the Berry Moon, Raspberry Moon and Thunder Moon.”

 WTF fun facts

Source: “Buck Supermoon 2022: How to see July’s full Moon tonight” — Science Focus


WTF Fun Fact 12451 – The Bishop of the Moon

Archbishop William D. Borders was the founding bishop of the Diocese of Orlando, established in 1968. It covered 13 counties and nearly 10,000 square miles of central Florida. And possibly the moon.

Now, the Catholic Church has made no claim at all to the moon, but Borders’ territory happened to include Brevard, Florida, home to Cape Canaveral and the Kennedy Space Center. If that sounds familiar, it’s because that is where the U.S. launches its space missions.

At the time of the moon landing in July of 1969, many religious leaders praised the space program, seeing it as proof that God’s creation was neverending.

But for Borders, the moon landing was a little more personal. According to the 1917 Code of Canon Law (aka The Pio-Benedictine Code), which was in effect until 1983, any newly discovered territory was to be placed under the jurisdiction of the diocese from which the expedition that discovered that territory originated.

In other words, since the Apollo 11 mission launched from Cape Canaveral and that was in Borders’ territory, it was technically under his jurisdiction. A couple of other bishops joked that they might have dibs, but it was all in good fun.

In fact, to keep the joke going, Bishop Borders mentioned this to Pope Paul VI on a visit to the Vatican in late 1969. The pope had watched the moon landing with great interest (the Vatican has one of the best observatories in the world), but we’re not quite sure what he thought of the claim.

The story of their meeting comes to us via Renae Bennett, Orlando’s diocesan archivist, who wrote:

During his visit, Bishop Borders mentioned to the pope that he was the ‘bishop of the moon.’ Responding to the pontiff’s perplexed reaction, Bishop Borders explained that according to the 1917 Code of Canon Law (in effect at that time), any newly discovered territory was placed under the jurisdiction of the diocese from which the expedition that discovered that territory originated. Since Cape Canaveral, launching site for the Apollo moon missions, was in Brevard County and part of the Diocese of Orlando, then in addition to being bishop of 13 counties, he was also bishop of the moon,” Bennett wrote. That would add more than 14.6 million square miles to the Diocese of Orlando, making that diocese the largest in the known universe.”

Of course, it all means very little, but that’s what makes it a fun fact.

Another fun fact: This would all make the current Bishop of Orlando, John G. Noonan, not only bishop of the moon but also of the International Space Station, which launched from Kennedy Space Center. – WTF fun facts

Source: “A Catholic bishop of the moon?” — The Catholic Weekly