The Reason Tonight’s Full Moon Is Called The Thunder Moon

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Early Sunday morning, a full moon will take over the night sky, along with a clear glimpse of Saturn nearby. The Thunder Moon with be completely full at 12:07 a.m. Eastern time on Sunday, when the Earth is directly between the Sun and the Moon, allowing for its full luminosity. As is typical of a summer full moon, it will be visible above the horizon for a shorter time than in winter months. This summer full moon will grace us for around 10 hours.

Why It’s Called the ‘Thunder Moon’

The names we use for full moons come from Indigenous titles given to each one hundreds of years ago. The names tend to correspond to natural characteristics of the season and can carry spiritual significance. April’s Pink Moon was named after the pink wildflower known as phlox, which blooms around the same time as the moon phase.

This moon has actually been gifted several names. The Thunder Moon comes from a charmingly obvious point of inspiration — summer is a time of constant thunderstorms around much of the U.S. Algonquins also called it the Full Buck Moon; at this time of year a male deer’s antlers are in full growth mode. The Tlingit, in the Pacific Northwest, referred to it as the Salmon Moon.

Best Spots to See It

The best views of the moon will be where it’s highest in the sky — in this case the southern U.S. will get a prime-time view. In Miami, the Thunder Moon’s altitude will reach 48 degrees above the horizon, making it one of the best places to see it. New Yorkers will get a decent view, with the Thunder Moon reaching a maximum altitude of 29.3 degrees. On the opposite side of the world, Australia will get the least optimal perspective, with the full moon beginning to rise about three hours after its full phase has already occurred, at 2:07 p.m. in Sydney.

If you’re fortunate enough to see the full moon at night, hopefully it won’t be too stormy to get a good view. If the evening lives up to this moon’s namesake, don’t lose hope: a near-full moon will be visible on Monday as well.

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