No fireworks? No problem: Full moon, eclipse expected to dazzle
Penumbral eclipse hard to see, so keep your eyes peeled
MOON, Space (WKBT) — Public fireworks displays may be few and far between Saturday, as the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many cancellations, but the full moon and partial lunar eclipse that night are expected to present a good light show.
July’s full moon often is called the Buck Moon because this is the time of year when bucks’ antlers are in full growth mode, according to The Old Farmer’s Almanac.
It also is known as the Thunder Moon because thunderstorms are so frequent during this season, the almanac says.
The Buck Moon, which also is the first full moon of the summer, will rise in the Southeast sky after sunset Saturday and reach peak illumination at 11:44 p.m. Central time — assuming the skies are clear.
But wait — there’s more to the show. Like last month’s full moon, a partial penumbral lunar eclipse also will accompany this one.
This type of eclipse occurs when the Moon crosses through the faint outer edge of Earth’s shadow (the penumbra), making part of the moon appear ever-so-slightly darker than usual, according to the almanac.
“Unlike a full lunar or solar eclipse, the visual effect of a penumbral eclipse is usually so minimal that it can be difficult to perceive at all,” the almanac cautions. “For this eclipse, only a small portion of the moon will cross into the penumbra, making it even more difficult to see.”
The eclipse will begin at 10:07 p.m. Central time, achieve maximum light just before 11:30 p.m. and end at 12:52 a.m.
The Buck Moon has a couple of other nicknames, according to the timeanddate.com website.
“The Anglo-Saxon name is either Hay Moon, after the hay harvest that takes place in July, or Wort Moon, indicating that July is the time to gather herbs (worts) to dry and use as spices and remedies,” that website notes.
The next full moon, which will take place on Aug. 3, is called the Sturgeon Moon because Native Americans knew that giant sturgeon were easy pickin’s in the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain at that time, the almanac explains.
Other nicknames for that lunar display is the Full Green Corn Moon, signaling that the corn was nearly ready for harvest” Wheat Cut Moon, Moon When All Things Ripen and Blueberry Moon, according to the almanac.