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Thunderstorms can roll across much of the country at this time of year. They can bring strong winds, hail, and flooding rains. That seasonal pattern is reflected in one of the names of July’s full Moon: the Thunder Moon.
The most commonly used full-Moon names are the Harvest Moon, in September or October, and the following Hunter’s Moon. But every full Moon has its own name. And they all reflect what’s happening in nature at that time of year.
Most of the names were created by the native tribes and nations of North America. The names were part of a system for tracking the turning of the seasons. June, for example, had the Rose or Strawberry Moon, and August has the Green Corn Moon. These names helped people know when to plant or harvest crops, or when to move to grounds with better hunting or better weather for the coming season.
Some cultures relied on more than just the Moon, though. They tracked the Sun’s progress along the horizon, for example, and followed the appearances of key stars. These astronomical cues made it easier to follow the seasons — year in and year out.
And the Moon will be full at 11:07 Central Daylight Time tonight, as it lines up opposite the Sun. The Sun will illuminate the entire lunar hemisphere that faces Earth, lighting up the sometimes stormy night skies of early summer.
Tomorrow: An encounter in the morning sky.
Script by Damond Benningfield