Tides will run higher and lower than normal this weekend.
The extreme range is tied to two astronomical events: a full moon on June 23 during a time when the moon is near the earth.
The earth’s tides are created by the gravitational pull of the sun and the moon. Usually the pull is greatest when the moon is either full or in the new moon phase. On Saturday, the moon is full and also closer to the earth, in perigee.
Astronomers estimate that the moon’s distance is just under 222,000 miles away.
The moon’s 28-day orbit around the earth is elliptical, varying as much as 30,000 miles. On June 9, two weeks ago, the moon was in apogee, 252,000 miles away.
Gravity powers the orbits of planets and moons in their movement through space. It is responsible for the changing tides.
The first evidence of the extreme tides began early this week. The highest and lowest tides will come this weekend. Extreme low tides are a boon for shellfishermen, but caution is urged for boaters in waters around the Vineyard during times of low tide.