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August’s full super moon names and observing notes 2014

Moon and Jupiter from Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station Antarctica
Moon and Jupiter from Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station Antarctica
US Antarctic Program Calee Allen

The traditional full moon name for August is the “Dog Day’s Moon”. The Dog Day name is derived from the rising of the “dog star” Sirius at dawn. Other names are the “Sturgeon Moon”, “Woodcutter’s Moon”, “Green Corn Moon” and “Wort (old-world word meaning plant) Moon”. To the Cherokee it is “the ripe corn moon”. The Oto called it “all the elk call moon”, and for the Zuni it is the “no snow on trial moon”. The Lakota Sioux called it “moon when the cherries turned black”.

This month, as last month, the full moon occurs when the Moon is at perigee or closest to the Earth. This is commonly referred to as a super moon. This is the second of three super moons this year. The next super moon occurs on September 9th. This super moon will be the closest of the three at 221,765 miles. During a super moon the Moon appears a little bigger and brighter than the average full moon. It is not enough of a difference for most people to notice, but fun to know never the less.

The Moon will be the constellation Capricornus, the goat. Above and left of the Moon are three widely spaced stars forming the Summer Triangle. The brightest star, Vega, will be nearly overhead.

Technically the full moon is only a moment in time even though the Moon looks full on the evenings of August 9 and August 11. That moment occurs at 12:10pm MDT on Sunday, August 10 for Aurora, Colorado. Moonrise occurs at 7:51pm MDT. For those early morning risers, moonset occurs at 6:02am MDT on August10. Sunrise will occur 4 minutes after moonset (6:06am MDT). This would be a great time to take a picture of the setting full moon over the mountains. On the morning of August 11 moonset occurs at 7:16am MDT. Sunrise occurs at 6:07am MDT, 51 minutes after moonset.

Wishing you clear skies