Tonight’s full moon is a Blue Moon — it’s also the Full Sturgeon Moon, the Full Red Moon, the Green Corn Moon and the Grain Moon.
This full moon qualifies as a Blue Moon because it’s the third full moon in a season with four (most seasons have only three). The moon’s extra names come from traditional monikers for the full moon of a given month. A few hundred years ago, Native American tribes in what’s now the northeastern United States kept track of seasons by ascribing particular names to each full moon. Later, European settlers added their own names for the full moons to the lexicon.
The annual August full moon has come to be known as the Full Sturgeon Moon, because the large fish called sturgeon can most easily be caught at this time of year. The name came from tribes who caught this fish in bodies of water such as the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain.
Another name for this month’s full moon is the Full Red Moon, because the weather and atmospheric conditions during this season can often make the moon look reddish when it rises through a haze.
And finally, because crops grow tall at this time of year, this month’s moon is sometimes called the Green Corn Moon or the Grain Moon.
Blue Moons don’t happen too often, which is why the phrase “once in a Blue Moon,” has sprung up to mean only very rarely. After tonight’s event, the next Blue Moon isn’t set to occur until 2015.
- Full Moon: Tomorrow’s Blue Moon Not Happening Again Until 2015 (scienceworldreport.com)
- Full moon over Central Indiana tonight (fox59.com)
- August 20 full blue moon (wjla.com)
- Once In A “Blue” Moon (sallyjfrancis.wordpress.com)
- Moon Phases: ‘Blue Moon’ To Light The Sky Tuesday Night [PHOTOS] (designntrend.com)
- Full Moon August 20 2013 (healingmeditations1.wordpress.com)
- Blue Moon ahead! (earthsky.org)