Tonight’s Full Moon

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July, 2009 Thunder Moon as imaged by the author following a lunar occultation of the Red Supergiant Star Antares to the right (west) of the moon. Click the image for larger, high-res view.

Tonight at 22:57 UTC (6:57 EDT), the moon will be 180º from the sun as it is every month at astronomical Full Moon.

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A view to the south tonight with the full moon in Capricorn to the east of Scorpio, Sagittarius and the galactic center. Image produced via Stellarium.

July’s full moon is otherwise known as the “Full Buck Moon”, the “Thunder Moon” or the “Hay Moon” in North America. At this time of year, buck deer begin to grow antlers, while farmers are struggling to put hay in their barns amid the summer season’s frequent thunder storms.

The full moon is a unique and interesting lunar phase for a variety of reasons. The full moon rises as the sun sets and is the only phase during which we can witness a full lunar eclipse, the immersion of the moon into the earth’s shadow. Since the moon is exactly opposite the sun at the full moon phase, the path of the July full moon across the nighttime sky will resemble that of the January sun across the daytime sky. If you do happen to see the moon tonight, take note of just how low the moon (and the path of the ecliptic) is above the southern horizon.

Next month’s full moon, the August Full Moon is known as The Full Sturgeon Moon and occurs on August 18th this year . For a complete list of full moon names, accompanying lore, dates and times, please visit The Old Farmers Almanac.

Full Moonrise sequence featured image, credit: Mohamed Laaïfat

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