Yorkshire Times
Weekend Edition
Jan Harris
Assistant Editor
7:01 AM 21st August 2021

The Blue Sturgeon Moon Will Rise This Weekend

Image by Prettysleepy from Pixabay
Image by Prettysleepy from Pixabay
According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac the full moon in August will begin on Saturday 21 August but will reach its full illumination on the evening of Sunday 22 August.

A full moon is when the moon looks like a full circle as the moon's earth-facing side is completely illuminated by the sun. The main source of light for the moon is from the sun as it has no visible light of its own.

The August full moon is called the Sturgeon Moon as it is the time of year when an abundance of the largest American freshwater fish can be caught in the lakes and rivers of North America.

What is a Sturgeon?
Image by Erich Westendarp from Pixabay
Image by Erich Westendarp from Pixabay
The lake sturgeon fish is a greenish-grey colour with a pointed snout and two pairs of whisker-like tactile organs dangling near the mouth.

These prehistoric-looking fish are often called ‘living fossils’ as they belong to a family of fish that have been around for more than 135 million years.

Lake sturgeons can live for a long time, males for 55 years and females 150 years, growing up to 2 metres long and weighing up to 90 kilos.

These fish live in rivers as well as lakes but not in the ocean.

The lake sturgeon is quite rare now because of pollution and overfishing in the 19th century.

Other names for the full August moon are the Green Corn Moon, Grain Moon, Fruit Moon or Barley Moon, as these were the crops that would be harvested in August.

A few American tribes knew the August full moon as the Full Red Moon because, as the moon rises, it appears reddish through any sultry haze.

The names given to the full moons during the year are derived from the North American traditions.

Many of these ancient moon names have been given based on the behaviour of the plants, animals, or weather during that month.

There are a total of 12 full moon phases during the annual lunar cycle plus the occasional Blue Moon and each full moon has a unique name and reflects the landscape around us.

It is said that they were the names given by Native American tribes and included into our modern calendar. However the full moon names we now use also have Anglo-Saxon and Germanic roots.

Why a Blue Moon?
Image by TheOtherKev from Pixabay
Image by TheOtherKev from Pixabay
The full moon in August is also classed as a Blue Moon. This is because it is the third full moon out of four in the summer season in the Northern Hemisphere. There are usually only three per season. The phrase ‘Once in a blue moon’ describes an event that doesn’t happen very often.

On occasions the moon can look blue if there are big dust particles in the earth’s atmosphere which scatter red light and make the moon appear blue. This happens after a wildfire or volcanic eruption.

In 2018 we were fortunate to have two Blue Moons in the year and one was a lunar eclipse.

When is the next Blue Moon?

2023 – 31 August
2026 – 31 May
2028 – 31 December

The next time we will get two blue moons in a year will be 2037.

Sturgeon Moon myths and folklore:

The Farmers’ Almanac has listed some fascinating folklore connected to this lunar occasion. It states:

"Clothes washed for the first time in the full Moon will not last long.

"If you glimpse the new Moon over your right shoulder, you will have good luck.

"To have a project prosper, start it during the new Moon.

"Babies born a day after the full Moon enjoy success and endurance."

Full Moons in 2021

photo credit Rob Harris
photo credit Rob Harris
Wolf Moon - January 28
Snow Moon - February 27
Pink Moon - April 26
Flower Moon - May 26
trawberry Moon - June 24
Buck Moon - July 24
Sturgeon Moon - August 22
Harvest Moon - September 20
Hunter's Moon - October 20
Beaver Moon - November 19
Cold Moon - December 19

The best time to see the full moon in the UK will be in the evening after sunset as that is when the moon is closest to the earth.

So let’s hope the sky remains clear so that we can see the Sturgeon Moon. It should be visible in the sky for a couple of nights either side of the 22 August.

The next full moon will be on Monday 20 September and is the Harvest Moon.