This Friday, July 27th, we urge you to look up at the night sky and check out the Full Buck Moon — that is, if you can even see it. The Buck Moon will actually fall into Earth’s umbral shadow, meaning it will appear eclipsed in some parts of the world. But it’s all part of the moon’s mystery.
Why do we call July’s full moon the Full Buck Moon? Like the other full moons of the year, this upcoming full moon is named for a natural event that takes place during the month of July. The Native American Algonquin tribe was the first to call July’s full moon the “Buck Moon” because it’s during this time of year that bucks begin to grow their new antlers. Later, colonists adopted this full moon name and others, and passed them down through the generations.
Other Native American tribes named the July full moon differently depending on their location. In some parts of North America, the July full moon is called the Full Thunder Moon because thunder storms are frequent during the month of July.
According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, the Cherokee tribe called this moon “Ripe Corn Moon,” the Ponca tribe called it “Middle of Summer Moon,” and the Zuni tribe called it “Moon When Limbs of Trees Are Broken by Fruit.”
Although it’s always thrilling to see a full moon in the night sky, this year’s July Full Buck Moon is particularly exciting. While the moon is in its fullest phase on July 27th, it will enter into a total lunar eclipse — and not just any total lunar eclipse. This will be the longest lunar eclipse of the 21st century.
Lasting almost two hours, we won’t see another eclipse this long until sometime in the 2100s.
Unfortunately, those of us located in North America won’t be able to see the eclipse happen since it will be most visible in the eastern hemisphere. But even so, the Full Buck Moon (eclipsed or not) will be a beautiful sight to behold.
Even better? Next to the Full Buck Moon we’ll be able to see the red planet Mars brighter than at any other point during the year. Mars, currently at opposition, meaning Earth is sandwiched between Mars and the sun, will look like a large star in comparison to the moon, but notice its red hue as it blinks from afar.
If you are able to watch the eclipse, the reddened moon — which happens when it ducks into Earth’s shadow — next to a twinkling red planet will look almost supernatural.
Go outside and celebrate the wonder of the cosmic world. A lot will be going on up there come Friday that you won’t want to miss.