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Moab UT (at City Hall)
38O34’ N Latitude
109O33’ W Longitude
4048 ft - 1234 m

Super Blue Sturgeon Moon
by Vivian White

On August 1st, a full Moon rises in the east just 30 minutes after sunset. We will see the entire sunlit side as it is nearly in line with the Sun and Earth. The Farmers’ Almanac calls it the “sturgeon Moon,” for the time of year when this fish was once abundant in the Great Lakes. Cultures around the world give full Moons names, often related to growing seasons or celebrations.

As the Moon rises later each night, the bright sunlit part gets smaller or “wanes.” We call this a waning gibbous Moon. About a week later, we see only half of the Moon alight. At this phase, the Moon rises around midnight and sets around noon. Have you ever noticed this daytime phase southwest in the morning sky? Hold up a ball or egg beside it and see how the Sun lights up the same part.

The Moon always shows the same face towards Earth due to the gravitational pull. By August 16th, the moon has passed through a crescent phase until the full dark side is fully facing the Earth during a new Moon. Then, as the Moon reappears, it makes a waxing crescent, which is best seen in the afternoon. By the time it reaches the first quarter on August 24th, we see the other half of the Moon lit up!

This month, we have a second chance to see a full moon on August 30th—a blue Moon! A blue Moon is not actually blue, of course; it is the second full Moon in any month. Since the cycle from full to new and back takes 29.5 days, most months have only one. Thus, the phrase “once in a blue Moon” refers to a rare event because a blue Moon appears about once every 3 years! The next one is in May 2026. In addition, this full Moon appears the largest of any full Moon this year—an unofficial supermoon—because it is closer in its slightly elliptical orbit. The difference in apparent size between the smallest and largest full Moon is about difference between a quarter and a nickel.

Follow the Moon with us this month. You may be surprised by what you discover!!

The Sun will light up a ball on a stick on the same side as the Moon. Try this with an egg or any round object when you see the Moon during the day! Credit: Vivian White

(The time of sunrise and sunset assumes a flat horizon. Actual time may vary depending upon the landscape.)


August 1 - Full Moon at 12:31 pm
August 8 - Third Quarter at 4:28 am
August 16 - New Moon at 3:38 am
August 24 - First Quarter at 3:57 am
August 30 - Full Moon at 7:35 pm

Moab Dark Skies mission is to promote the appreciation and conservation of Moab’s valuable and rare dark skies. Moab Dark Skies was established by the Friends of Arches and Canyonlands Parks in conjunction with the National Park Service and Utah State Parks Division of Natural Resources

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