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Sturgeon Moon on August 7

Image at top via Katie Steiger-Meister/USFWS

In North America, we often call the August full moon the Sturgeon Moon, Green Corn Moon or Grain Moon. This August full moon falls on August 7 at 18:11 UTC, which is during the daylight hours on August 7 for us in the United States.

At U.S. time zones, full moon comes on August 7 at 1:11 a.m. EDT, 12:11 p.m. CDT, 11:11 p.m. MDT and 10:11 p.m. PDT. Although tonight’s moon and tomorrow night’s moon will look full to the eye for us in the Americas, we won’t see the moon at the instant that it turns full because it’ll be beneath our horizon at that time.

In fact, you have to be in the world’s Eastern Hemisphere to see this month’s moon when it’s precisely full. In that part of the world, the full moon will be partially eclipsed by the Earth’s dark shadow on the night of August 7-8, 2017.

Partial lunar eclipse August 7-8

Technically speaking, the moon is full for a only fleeting moment – when the moon is 180o from the sun in ecliptic longitude. The worldwide map below shows you the day and night sides of the world at the instant of the August 7 full moon.

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Day and night sides of Earth at the instant of the August full moon (2017 August 7 at 18:11 UTC). Worldwide map via EarthView

You have to be on the nighttime side of the world to see the moon at the exact instant that it turns full. If the moon turns full during the daylight hours – as this August 2017 moon does in North and South America – then the moon is below your horizon.

Astronomically speaking, we in North and South America will be watching an almost-full waxing gibbous moon on the night of August 6-7 and an almost-full waning gibbous moon on the night of August 7-8.

Everyone around the word, however, will see a full-looking moon in the east at dusk or nightfall on August 6 and 7, highest up for the night around midnight and sitting low in the west at dawn. The moon stays more or less opposite the sun for the duration of the night after darkness falls for these next few days.

Hope Carter wrote in August, 2016:

Hope Carter wrote in August, 2016: “In the spirit of August’s full Green Corn Moon, I thought it would be fun to photograph as I live near many cornfields here in Michigan!” Visit Hope Carter Photography.

Bottom line: In North America, we sometimes call the August full moon the Sturgeon Moon. Watch it light up the nighttime from dusk August 6 until dawn August 7, 2017.

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Bruce McClure