‘Thunder Moon’ Lunar Eclipse Meets Saturn in the Sky Tonight–Get Ready for July 16th, 2019

July 15, 2019 Updated: July 15, 2019

The sky during the month of July is full of wonder, with a variety of celestial happenings ready to delight all those stargazers out there. We have all heard the terms Blue Moon and Blood Moon, but have you ever heard of a Thunder Moon? Sounds a bit ominous, but in fact, it isn’t.

The next full moon will be on July 16, and it is known as the Thunder Moon, also called a Full Buck Moon. Other American Indian names for the July full moon are Ripe Corn Moon (by the Cherokee), Middle of Summer Moon (by the Ponca), and Moon When Limbs of Trees Are Broken by Fruit (by the Zuni).

The Thunder Moon is so named because of the prevalent thunderstorms during the month of July. Often celebrated as the first full moon of summer, it is also called the Full Buck Moon because young bucks have been observed to have growth spurts of new antlers during July.

The full moon will occur on Tuesday afternoon (in North America), July 16, 2019, appearing opposite the sun at 5:38 p.m. EST.

Illustration – Shutterstock | Andrea Izzotti
Illustration – Pixabay | Innersanity

Stargazers will be able to set up their telescopes and witness Saturn and Jupiter just to the right of the moon for most of the night. Furthermore, the full moon will be visible for three nights, much to stargazers’ delight.

The Thunder Moon in July also coincides with a partial eclipse visible from most of the planet, except North America, according to EclipseWise.com.

Looking from the standpoint of the earth, as the moon reflects the sun’s light, it appears bright in the night sky. The moon becomes full when it is at an opposite point from the sun from our viewpoint.

A partial eclipse is when a section of the moon passes through the earth’s shadow, while the rest of the moon is illuminated by the sun.

The partial eclipse will start at 8 p.m. GMT, finishing around 11 p.m. GMT Tuesday July 16.

Why is July such an important month in moon history? Watch the video below to discover why:

This year, the first new moon of July occurred on July 2 at 3:16 p.m. EST, while the second will take place at 11:12 p.m. on July 31, according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac.

Month’s end’s new moon is also called a black moon, because a new moon is not illuminated by the sun’s rays, and it can be hard to see it.

There might not be too much to see when a black moon rises, but the good news is the surrounding skies will be clear and excellent for stargazing. That is, unless the thunderstorms arrive!

A photo showing a new moon. (Illustration – Shutterstock | THANAKRIT SANTIKUNAPORN)

Jupiter will have already set as morning twilight arrives on July 16, and Saturn will be low in the sky at around 7 degrees above the horizon, seemingly close to the full moon. Venus will be rising 40 minutes before sunrise.

Mercury will emerge at dawn at the end of July in the east-northeast, and by the beginning of August, it will be visible.

Next month, when the morning of the full moon on Aug. 15, 2019, arrives, Mercury will be the sole planet visible in the morning twilight, and if you look around 4 degrees above the horizon, you will spot it. You can see the Moon Phase Calendar for your city here.

The first men to land on the moon, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, planted the American flag on the moon’s surface on July 20, 1969, making the July moon one of historical significance.

Apollo 11 astronauts planting the U.S. flag on the moon, July 20, 1969. (©Shutterstock | Castleski)