This month’s full moon is most commonly known as the Summer Moon. It is also known as the Buck Moon, Thunder Moon, Hay Moon, and Mead Moon. Mead, I learned, is an alcoholic beverage made from fermented honey and water. If you care to make some you can go here. To the Lakota Sioux it was known as the Moon when Cherries are Ripe. The Pima called it Moon of Giant Cactus.
July comes from the Latin word Julius. Originally the roman month for July was Quintilis It was renamed to Julius after Julius Caesar, his birth month, shortly before his death.
Technically the full moon is only a moment in time. That moment occurs at 12:53pm MDT on Tuesday, July 3 for Aurora, Colorado.
The Moon will look full on the evenings July 2, July 3, and July 4. So which is closest to the true full moon? Fortunately there is an easy way for the casual observer to tell which is which. A full moon always rises opposite the setting Sun. The Moon that rises within a half hour of sunset is the full moon. If the Moon is well above the horizon or has not risen until well after (greater than a half hour) sunset, it is not a full moon even though it looks like one. Let’s test it this month for Aurora CO.
July 2 The Moon rises well before sunset
Sunset: 8:31pm MDT
Moonrise: 7:36pm MDT
Difference: 55 minutes (Failed, Moon and Sun are not opposite)
July 3 The Moon rises within 30 minutes of sunset
Sunset: 8:31pm MDT
Moonrise: 8:28pm MDT
Difference: 3 minutes (Pass, Moon and Sun are opposite)
July 4 The Moon rise well after sunset
Sunset: 8:30pm MST
Moonrise: 9:11pm MDT
Difference: 41 minute. (Failed, Moon and Sun are not opposite)
This test works pretty much every time for any full looking moon. If the Moon looks full and is opposite the Sun in the evening or morning it’s full as this month’s data indicates. Take the time this month to see the difference.
A full moon is the only time the Moon is up all night and the only time a lunar eclipse can take place as it did last month. A full moon also sets in the west opposite the rising Sun. Here in Aurora full moon moonset over the mountains (west) is on the morning of July 3 at 5:32am MDT. Sunrise is at 5:36am MDT in the east. The best views will be before 5:00am.
If you look east you will see two bright “stars” Jupiter (upper) and Venus (lower) on the horizon.
If you have the time, observe the sunrise. They are usually pretty good here in Colorado.
Wishing you clear skies