July Full Buck Moon: What It Is, and Best Times to View

by Shelby Scott

Sky junkies are in for a treat this Friday as the July Full Buck or Thunder Moon makes its appearance. Most Americans can expect to view the full moon early Friday evening around 10:37 p.m. ET. Meanwhile, those in Newfoundland and Greenland eastward to the International Dateline can view the moon this Saturday, July 24. For those hoping to see the full moon, it will appear from Thursday night through Saturday morning.

According to FoxNews, the July full moon was named the Buck Moon because it’s typically when bucks’ antlers begin to emerge from their head for the season. The Maine Farmers Almanac writes that this particular name was given by the Algonquin tribes in the Northeast. Others may call it the Thunder Moon because of this season’s frequent thunderstorms.

When a full moon occurs, it means that the moon is appearing opposite the location of the sun according to “Earth-based longitude” and is what makes it appear so brightly in the sky. Full moons are truly a treat for skywatchers and night owls alike (figuratively and literally). However, for those looking to stargaze, the best time to view is during a new moon.

This year, the Buck Moon may appear different as it is possible it could have a reddish-orange hue. This frequently occurs during an eclipse, but unfortunately for us, this is not currently the case. Due to the ferocity of the wildfires burning across the Western states, a strange haze may overtake this month’s full moon.

From Full Moon to New Moon

Obviously, new moons occur pretty frequently as the moon undergoes cycles on its journey through the sky each month. The next new moon, and hence the best time to go stargazing, will be August 8th. Stargazers can also try stargazing when the moon rises late in the night, according to the National Park Service’s Twitter page.

New moons are interesting as it appears our celestial partner is not in its place in the night sky. The new moon is the first phase of the lunar cycle. Interestingly enough, new moons can’t be seen at night because they frequently make their way across the sky during the day.

In addition to stars, another brilliant night sky sighting is the Milky Way Galaxy itself. Because of light pollution from many urban areas, it is often difficult to spot. Stargazers are often forced to go outside of urban areas to truly catch a good view of the night sky. The new moon phase is also the best time to hunt for the Milky Way Galaxy in the night sky. For such a pretty view, it’s definitely worth a shot.