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Friday, July 11, 2014

July's Full Thunder Moon Happens Early Saturday

You may have noticed the nearly-full Moon in the Western sky early this morning. Unfortunately, lingering clouds partially obscured the view, but tonight will be mostly clear. That will afford us the perfect opportunity to see July's Full Thunder Moon. It will be completely full tomorrow at 7:25 a.m. EDT.

The Full Thunder Moon is so named since thunderstorms are common during this time of the year. Another name for this month’s Moon is the Full Buck Moon. July is normally the month when the new antlers of buck deer rush out of their foreheads in coatings of velvety fur. Another name for this month’s Moon is the Full Hay Moon.

Full Moon names date back to Native Americans in what is now the Northern and Eastern United States. The tribes kept track of the seasons by giving distinctive names to each recurring Full Moon. Their names were applied to the entire month in which each occurred. There was some variation in the Moon names, but in general, the same ones were current throughout the Algonquin tribes from New England to Lake Superior.

A Full Moon rises at about the same time the Sun is setting. Since the length of daylight is about 15 hours and four minutes today, the Full Moon will rise later and set earlier this time of the year. In addition, the Full Moon will appear lower in the sky since it won’t be visible nearly as long as during the mid-Winter nights. However, since it is at perigee with the Earth, it will appear fuller and brighter than normal.

For example, the Moon rises at 7:35 this evening and sets at 5:52 tomorrow morning. That means the Moon will be visible for ten hours and 17 minutes. Conversely, six months from now in January when the amount of daylight is at a minimum, the Full Wolf Moon will appear higher in the sky and be visible for about 17-and-half-hours. That’s over seven hours longer than this time of the year!

A fairly nice weekend is ahead, but I'm not sure it will be the eighth straight weekend without any measured rain across southwestern Connecticut. Saturday will be mostly sunny and pleasant with a high temperature in the lower 80s. Sunday will be partly sunny and humid with a late-afternoon shower or thunderstorm and a high in the lower 80s. Monday and Tuesday will be humid with thunderstorms likely each day.