This July 9th at 12:07 EDT (0407 GMT), the full Thunder Moon will be visible in clear skies. This full moon gets its name because July is the month in which America usually gets the most thunderstorms. The moon is currently in the Sagittarius constellation between the stars Aquila and Nunki.
The significance of the Thunder Moon varies from culture to culture. Europeans call it the Mead Moon because this is the full moon that marks the season of peak honey production. Honey is the base of the fermented drink called mead. The earliest American colonists from Europe called it the Hay Moon because the season was especially good for producing hay. The Native American Algonquin tribe called it the Buck Moon because it marked the period in which buck deer antlers start growing. The Cherokee called it the Ripe Corn Moon because it marked the lunar month during which crops such as corn begin to ripen.
In the Southern Hemisphere, the month of the Thunder Moon marks the coldest part of the year. The Māori of New Zealand refer to the night of this full moon as Rākau-nui, in which “Man is now extremely cold and kindles fires before which he basks.”
The Thunder Moon will reach a maximum altitude of 29.3 degrees above the horizon in New York City and will get as high as 48 degrees from the horizon in Miami. Technically, New Sydney will miss the time that the Thunder Moon is at its fullest, but it will still reach a maximum altitude of 74 degrees and appear full to the casual observer.
Also Don’t Miss…
Dedicated skywatchers won’t want to miss Saturn, which will rise a little ahead of the Thunder Moon at 6:30 pm for observers on the East Coast. Saturn won’t be far from the Moon, although it was a little bit closer on July 6th.