The full moon of August rose in quite a show tonight. Starting low in the sky, the light pink orb danced among the incoming clouds. As the minutes passed, the face of the moon turned a salmon color, radiating amid the darkening blue sky.
Approximately half way through its ascent, the moon started to turn more orange in color, slipping in and out of the clouds. After a few moments, the color changed to yellow, then to white. The colors reflected off the clouds, giving the moon a halo type appearance.
Full Sturgeon Moon
Watching the moon rise, I wondered what name the Native Americans had given to it. According to both the Old Farmers’ Almanac and the Farmers’ Almanac, the full moon of August is known as the Full Sturgeon Moon to the fishing tribes. The name reflects the easiness of catching lake sturgeons, a type of fish native to the Great Lakes, Hudson Bay, and Mississippi River, during the month of August. Lake sturgeons belong to an ancient fish family dating back to the Upper Cretaceous period (136 million years ago) and are considered benthivores.
Tribes from different areas had other names for the August full moon, including:
- Full Red Moon, given for its red appearance rising in the hazy August air
- Green Corn Moon, which noted the appearance of corn in the fields
- Grain Moon, referring to the harvesting of grain in the fields during August
Full Moon Excitement
Tonight’s full moon is also special because it is one of the three supermoons that will occur in the late summer and fall months this year. Supermoons are full or new moons that occur closest to the earth. The proximity of the moon to the earth makes it appear larger than normal, hence the name supermoon.
Regardless of the name given or the size, watching the moon’s ascent can be a memorable experience, bringing out the kid in the observer and the curiosity of the mind.
Resources and Related Links
Farmers’ Almanac Full Moon names – http://farmersalmanac.com/full-moon-names/
Full Red Moon – http://farmersalmanac.com/full-moon-names/
Green Corn Moon – http://theucn.com/ceremonies.html
Lake sturgeon – http://www.fws.gov/midwest/sturgeon/biology.htm
Old Farmers’ Almanac Full Moon names – http://www.almanac.com/content/full-moon-names