Moon Phases

July full moon is the Buck Moon on July 20

July full moon.
The July full moon occurs at 10:17 UT on July 21. That is 5:17 a.m. on July 21 in the central United States. The moon rises in the southeast just before sunset and lies east of the “Teapot” asterism of Sagittarius.

When to watch in 2024: Overnight of July 20. />Where to look: Look for the bright round moon in the east in the evening of July 20, highest in the sky around midnight, and in the west before sunrise morning on July 21. />Crest of the full moon falls at 10:17 UTC (5:17 a.m. CDT) on July 21. So, if you live in either North or South America, your fullest moon hangs somewhere above the western horizon just before sunrise on July 21.

All full moons rise along the eastern horizon near sunset, and set along the western horizon near sunrise. They are visible all night. At full moon, the sun, Earth and moon are aligned in space, with Earth in the middle. The moon’s day side – its fully lighted hemisphere – directly faces us. That’s why the moon appears full. Note that the moon will look full and round the day before and the day after it reaches its fullest.

The full moon lies opposite the sun.
At full moon, the sun, Earth, and moon are aligned with Earth in the middle. The moon’s day side – its fully lighted hemisphere – directly faces us.

It’s the Buck Moon

All the full moons have names. Popular nicknames for the July full moon include the Feather Molting Moon and the Salmon Moon, but Buck Moon is the most common. At this time of year, the antlers of male deer grow rapidly, sometimes to impressive sizes. Hence, the name Buck Moon. Some Native Americans used the names Thunder Moon, Berry Moon and Raspberry Moon.

Read more: Full moon names by month and by season

Read more: Traditional full moon names and their meanings

Full moon lies lies in Sagittarius.
The 2024 July full moon falls in the morning of July 21 (at 5:17 a.m. CDT) and lies in eastern Sagittarius. It will appear full on the overnights of July 20 and 21.

July full moon is in Sagittarius in 2024

The July full moon can lie in front of two constellations of the zodiac. The most often one is Sagittarius the Archer. The second is the constellation to Sagittarius’ east, Capricornus the Sea Goat. This full moon glows in far eastern Sagittarius near its border with Capricornus. Because of the bright moonlight, the stars in the vicinity of the moon will be very difficult to see with the unaided eye.

This July full moon mimics January sun

Because a full moon more or less stays opposite the sun, the full moon’s nighttime path mimics the sun’s daytime path from six months ago, or six months hence. In this case, that at the end of the third week in January. Since the January sun arcs relatively low across the sky, so does the July full moon.

North of the Arctic Circle, the January sun either never climbs above the horizon or only a short bit above it. This July full moon does the same.

Meanwhile, in the Southern Hemisphere, the moon’s path across the sky will nearly mirror that of the high summer solstice sun.

And, south of the Antarctic Circle, the moon will be out for 24 hours around the clock or nearly so, matching the path of the January sun.

July full moon and December sun in the Northern Hemisphere.
For observers in the Northern Hemisphere, the low arc across the sky of the July full moon is not quite as low as that of the December sun. The arc of the July sun is always much higher than the arc of the July full moon.

Arc of the July full moon, Northern Hemisphere

The moon’s arc across our sky varies from month to month and from season to season. Every full moon rises somewhere along the eastern horizon, opposite the sun as it sets in the west. And every full moon arcs across the sky throughout the night and sets along the western horizon around dawn. For us in the Northern Hemisphere, in most years the arc of the July’s full moon is lower than any other, except June’s.

July full moon and December sun in the Southern Hemisphere.
For observers in the Southern Hemisphere, the high arc across the sky of the July full moon is not quite as high as that of the December sun. The arc of the July sun is always much lower than the arc of the July full moon.

Arc of the July full moon, Southern Hemisphere

For those in the Southern Hemisphere, the July full moon’s arc across the sky reaches not quite as high as June’s, since it matches the path of January’s sun.

Bottom line: The July full moon – the Buck Moon – falls overnight on July 20, reaching its fullest at 10:17 UTC (that’s 5:17 a.m. CDT).

Posted 
July 2, 2023
 in 
Moon Phases

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John Jardine Goss

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