The Sturgeon Moon will light up the night skies on Thursday, August 15, when the lunar orb faces the Sun head-on. Sometimes known as the Green Corn Moon or the Grain Moon, the Full Moon is the midway point of the lunar cycle. According to NASA, tomorrow’s Moon is significant across parts of the world because it coincides with a number of holidays. In particular, the August Full Moon falls on the Hindu holiday of Raksha Bandhan.
Here in the UK, the Full Moon will preach peak illumination in the afternoon, leaving stargazers waiting until the evening.
The Sturgeon Moon will peak around 1.29pm BST (12.29pm UTC) and then rise over the horizon after 8.47pm BST (7.47pm UTC).
The Moon will travel from the east-southeast skies and set in the west-southwest around 6.23am BST (5.23am UTC) on Friday.
NASA astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS) have already welcomed the Full Moon.
Gordon Johnston at NASA HQ said: “The next Full Moon is the Sturgeon Moon, the Green Corn Moon, the Raksha Bandhan Moon, the Niki Poya and the Ghost Festival Moon.
“The next Full Moon will be on Thursday morning, August 15, 2019, appearing ‘opposite’ the Sun – in Earth-based longitude – at 8.29am EDT (1.29pm BST).
“The Moon will appear full for about three days centred around this time, from Tuesday night through Friday morning.”
The Sturgeon Moon owes its unique name to the traditions of Native American tribes living in what is today east America.
The so-called “Indian names” were published in The Maine Farmer’s Almanac in the 1930s and are popularly used today.
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The lunar names are supposed to reflect the changing seasons and how the landscape responds.
Mr Johnston said: “According to this almanac, as the Full Moon in August and the second Full Moon of Summer, the Algonquin tribes in what is now the Eastern USA called this the Sturgeon Moon after the large fish that were more easily caught this time of year in the Great Lakes and other major bodies of water.
“This Moon was also called the Green Corn Moon.”
The Sturgeon Moon also corresponds with the Hindu festival of Raksha Bandhan, which does not have a set date but falls on the Full Moon of the month Shrawan.
The holiday celebrates the bond between brothers and sisters, and on this day siblings treat each other with gifts.
The gifts are handed out in return for sisters tying a cotton bracelet around their brothers’ wrists.
Mr Johnston said: “The term ‘Raksha Bandhan’ translates as ‘the bond of protection, obligation, or care’.
“Every Full Moon is a holiday in Sri Lanka. This full Moon corresponds with the Nikini Poya holiday, commemorating the first Buddhist council, which occurred about 2,400 years ago, sometime around 400 BCE.”