July 26, 2010

As the morning light dawned over Capitol Hill here in Seattle, the full moon was still bright in the sky. What a sight!


Ever wonder what happens to make the moon seem "full"? The moon travels once around the Earth every 29.5 days and though the moon seems to shine in the night sky, it is actually being illuminated from varying angles by the sun. A full moon occurs when the moon is 180° away from the sun, so that sun, Earth and moon form a line. At that point the moon is completely illuminated.


                                    (Diagram courtesy of Minesweeper and Wikipedia)

According to space.com (an excellent source of information about the night sky), July’s full moon is often called the "Hay Moon" - no surprise to anyone living on a farm who has spent recent weeks cutting, baling and stowing hay for the winter.

The native peoples of northeastern North America didn’t grow hay, so they named this moon after male deer - the Bucks Moon. Others call this the thunder moon, because this is the time of year when sudden thunderstorms often occur on hot summer afternoons.

The moon was at its fullest last night at 9:36 p.m. EDT (0136 GMT), and at least here in the clear skies of Seattle, it was a sight to behold.



Posted by: Liz Nealon

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