Full Sturgeon Moon in August: Why Is It Called a Blue Moon?
The August Full Moon will be special: not only will it be a rare Blue Moon, but also it will shine in the vicinity of Jupiter and Saturn that are exceptionally bright this month! Read on to figure out what a Blue Moon is, why the Full Moon is also called the Sturgeon Moon, and when to observe the dance of our natural satellite and brilliant gas giants.
What does the Blue Moon mean?
The Blue Moon can be defined as the second Full Moon in a calendar month with two Full Moons (monthly definition) or the third Full Moon of the season with four Full Moons (seasonal definition). The August Full Moon fits the second definition. You can learn more about the Blue Moon in our previous article.
By the way, the term “Blue Moon” has no relation to the actual color of our natural satellite. This traditional name only highlights the rarity of the phenomenon described above. On August 22, the lunar disk will glow a golden hue near the horizon and appear white shining high in the sky.
When is the next Blue Moon?
In 2022, there will be no Blue Moon at all. In August 2023, we’ll be able to observe the calendar Blue Moon; moreover, it will be a Supermoon! The next seasonal Blue Moon will adorn our skies no sooner than December 2025. So don’t miss your chance to witness this rare phenomenon this month!
Is the Moon ever really blue?
As we’ve mentioned above, the August Blue Moon will be blue in name only. However, sometimes the Moon turns blue indeed! For example, due to the explosion of the famous volcano Krakatoa in 1883, ashes and dust cast a blanket around the whole planet; the dusty atmosphere caused a curious visual effect: throughout the year, people could see green sunrises and sunsets and the blue Moon. Are there any other colors of our natural satellite? Take our fascinating quiz about colors of the Moon to find it out!
What is a Full Sturgeon Moon?
Traditional names for the Full Moons originate from Native American, Colonial American, and European cultures and reflect peculiarities of seasons of the year. The August Full Moon is known under the name of the Sturgeon Moon, which comes from America’s largest freshwater fish, sturgeon. At this time of the year, it was easy to catch this prehistoric-looking fish in the Great Lakes of North America.
Alternative August Moon Names
There are various alternative names for the August Full Moon among different cultures and regions.
- Native Americans: Sturgeon Moon
- Cree: Flying Up Moon
- Assiniboine: Black Cherries Moon
- Algonquin: Corn Moon
- Anishinaabe: Ricing Moon
- Cherokee: Fruit Moon
- Choctaw: Women’s Moon
- Tlingit: Mountain Shadows Moon
- Celts: Dispute Moon
- Colonial Americans: Dog Day’s Moon
- Southern Hemisphere: Snow Moon, Storm Moon, Hunger Moon, Wolf Moon.
When is the Full Moon in August?
The Moon will officially reach its full phase on August 22, 2021, at 08:01 a.m. EDT (12:01 GMT). However, to the eye, the lunar disk will appear to be full for several nights in a row. The August Full Moon will light up the sky after dusk, reach its highest point in the sky around midnight, and set around sunrise. At the moment it reaches full phase, the Moon will shine brightly among the stars of Aquarius.
When is the next Full Moon?
The next Full Moon will grace the sky on September 20. It will be the closest Full Moon to the September equinox — hence it will bear the name of Harvest Moon. The Full Moon occurring at this time of the year corresponds with harvesting crops and traditionally helped farmers work into the night.
The Blue Moon dances with dazzling gas giants
August will give astronomy enthusiasts a rare chance to see the Blue Moon dancing with exceptionally bright gas giants. The Blue Sturgeon Moon closely follows the opposition of Jupiter, which took place on August 19; around opposition, the planet appears at its brightest and largest in the sky. Saturn, which reached opposition on August 2, also continues to shine brightly.
The conjunction of the Moon and the ringed planet Saturn will occur on August 20 at 06:15 p.m. EDT (22:15 GMT); then, on August 22 at 12:56 a.m. EDT (04:56 GMT), our natural satellite will meet with another gas giant, Jupiter. Note that even though we provide you with the exact date and time of the conjunctions, it’s not the only moment when the heavenly bodies can be seen relatively close together.
Use our stargazing apps to check the Moon’s phase and easily find and identify Saturn and Jupiter in the sky above you. Moreover, the astronomical apps will help you to determine the best viewing time for your location and discover beautiful constellations and other celestial objects surrounding our natural satellite and gas giants these days.
Wishing you clear skies and happy observations!