Enjoying EarthSky? Subscribe.

221,387 subscribers and counting ...

Full Buck Moon on July 19

Tonight – July 19, 2016 – you’ll see a full moon. In North America, we often call the July full moon the Buck Moon, Thunder Moon or Hay Moon. At this time of year, buck deer begin to grow velvety antlers, while farmers are struggling to put hay in their barns amid the sumer season’s frequent thunder showers.

The moon is said to be astronomically full when it’s precisely 180o opposite the sun in ecliptic longitude. This happens at 22:57 Universal Time. At U.S. latitudes, that translates to 6:57 p.m. EDT, 5:57 p.m. CDT, 4:57 p.m. MDT and 3:57 p.m. PDT.

Photo at top: Full moonrise by Mohamed Laaifat Photographies in Normandy, France.

Read more: What’s special about a full moon?

The day and night sides of Earth at the instant of the July full moon (2016 July 19 at 22;57 Universal Time). Note that there is now 24 hours of daylight in the northern reaches of the world, and 24 hours of night in the Antarctic.

The day and night sides of Earth at the instant of the July full moon (2016 July 19 at 22;57 Universal Time). Note that there is now 24 hours of daylight in the northern reaches of the world, and 24 hours of night in the Antarctic.

Strictly speaking, we in North America won’t see the moon at the instant that it turns full. For us, the moon will still be below the horizon as the moon turns exactly full. By the time the moon rises over the eastern horizon, we in North America will be looking at a moon that’s slightly past full phase. It’ll be a full-looking waning gibbous moon.

No matter. From almost everywhere worldwide, the moon will appear plenty full to the eye on the night of July 19-20. That’s because at the vicinity of full moon, the moon remains pretty much opposite the sun in Earth’s sky all hours of the night.

Look for the moon to rise in your eastern sky at dusk or early evening, to climb up highest up for the night around midnight and to sit low in your western sky at dawn July 20.

The full moon lies almost opposite the sun, so the path of the July full moon across the nighttime sky will resemble that of the January sun across the daytime sky. Therefore, far-northern regions of the globe won’t see the moon at all tonight. That’s because the July full moon, like the January sun, resides too far south on the sky’s dome to be seen from northern Arctic latitudes.

Moon in 2016: Phases, cycles, eclipses, supermoons and more

Hennie Rousseau in Northwest Province, South Africa took a this picture of the moon behind his maize crops, just before sunset on July 18, 2016.

Hennie Rousseau in Northwest Province, South Africa took a this picture of a nearly full moon behind his maize crops, just before sunset on July 18, 2016.

Bottom line: Look for the full moon on July 19, 2016, lighting up our skies from dusk or early evening until dawn.

Bruce McClure

MORE ARTICLES