Photo: Full Buck Moon moonrise in 2020, Mahogany Mountain, Utah.
The Full Buck Moon, July’s lunar namesake, will reveal itself in a dark sky July 23. If your night sky is not overcast, you can see it put in an appearance at 10:37 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. (Make adjustment for your time zone.)
It is appropriately named because humans have long observed this as the time of year when bucks’ antlers are quickly developing. Antlers are now encased in velvet as they regrow, with new growth often surpassing the previous year’s growth.
July’s night sky is a place of observation and wonder. The full moon and the changing views of the Scorpius constellation have enchanted sky-watchers for as long as people have watched night skies. From anywhere on earth, the constellation and its bright red star Antares can be seen after the moon leaves the sky in darkness.
By the time of the next full moon August 22, called the Sturgeon Moon, the night sky will have changed again.
Full moon names come from many traditions including Native Americans, Colonial Americans and Europeans. Each full moon name encompasses the lunar month in which is occurs, not just the full moon.
Variations on full moon names can be found in places like EarthSky and or the Old Farmer’s Almanac websites, along with dates and charts of new moons and constellation positions throughout night skies.
As for the moon itself, a new comprehensive, geologic map—an astounding creation and achievement —is now available.
If you’ve ever wondered what kind of rocks make up the dark and bright splotches on the moon’s surface, the new authoritative USGS map can help explain the 4.5-billion-year-old history of our nearest neighbor in space.
For the first time, the entire lunar surface has been completely mapped and uniformly classified by scientists from the USGS Astrogeology Science Center, collaborating with NASA and the Lunar Planetary Institute.
Scientists believe the new Unified Geologic Map of the Moon, a decades-long project, will be the definitive blueprint of the moon surface geology for future missions. Six Apollo-era regional maps and updated information from recent satellite missions to the moon were used to create the map.
The digital map is available online. For more details about the map, read about it here.
Resources: EarthSky; Old Farmer’s Almanac; USGS.
– See our earlier story on moon names.