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Sturgeon, Green Corn Moon August 17-18

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 18 at 9:27 UTC, which is before sunrise August 18 for us in the United States. So tonight’s moon is closest to full for us in the Americas.

At U.S. time zones, full moon comes on August 18 at 5:27 a.m. EDT, 4:27 a.m. CDT, 3:27 a.m. MDT and 2:27 a.m. PDT.

Technically speaking, the moon is full for a only fleeting moment – when the moon is precisely 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 18 full moon.

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Day and night sides of Earth at the instant of full moon (2016 August 18 at 9:27 Universal Time. Map via EarthView

Day and night sides of Earth at the instant of full moon (2016 August 18 at 9:27 UTC. 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, 2016 moon does in Europe, Africa and Asia – then the moon is below your horizon.

Everyone around the word, however, will see a full-looking moon in the east at dusk or nightfall on August 17 and 18, 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 on August 17.

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 17 until dawn August 18, 2016.

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Bruce McClure