August Full Moon 2019: Time, Date and Meaning of the Full Sturgeon Moon That Follows the Perseid Meteor Shower Peak

A full "Sturgeon" Moon is set to grace the night sky in the coming days—to the delight of skywatchers.

Full moons are an astronomical phenomenon that occur roughly once a month when the Earth is positioned between the sun and the moon. In this situation, the face of the moon that we can see is fully lit up by our star, appearing like a perfect circle.

Technically the term "full moon" refers to the specific moment when our natural satellite is directly opposite the sun. In August this moment will take place at 8:29 a.m. EDT or 4:29 a.m. PT on August 15, according to the Old Farmer's Almanac.

However, for all intents and purposes the moon will appear full to our eyes for about a day before and after this precise moment.

In North America, the full moon in August is traditionally called the "Sturgeon Moon"—a name which originated with Native American groups, according to the Almanac.

The name refers to the fact that these tribes considered August the best month to catch sturgeon fish, which once used to be common in America's lakes, Forbes reported.

The full moon in August has also been referred to as the Grain Moon, the Barley Moon, the Green Corn Moon and the Fruit Moon.

In the Northern Hemisphere, the Sturgeon Moon is the second of three full moons in the summer when we are speaking in astronomical terms, although it should be noted that there are actually two different dates for the beginning of this season.

Astronomical summer in the northern hemisphere began with the June solstice (June 21) and will end with the fall equinox on September 23. However, when speaking in meteorological terms, summer began on June 1 and will end on August 31.

This is because the meteorological year is divided up slightly differently to the astrological year, taking into account the months of the calendar and annual temperature cycles.

In the Southern Hemisphere, the opposite is true: the August full moon is the second of astronomical winter. There it is traditionally called by several names, including the Snow Moon, Storm Moon, Hunger Moon and Wolf Moon, according to EarthSky.

The best times to view the full moon are just after moonrise in the eastern sky and and just before moonset in the western sky, Forbes reported. On August 15 this translates to 5:57 a.m. and 8:21 p.m. EDT and 6:15 a.m. and 8.10 p.m. PT.

Soon after moonrise, our satellite will appear to be a pale orange color before becoming whiter and brighter as it rises in the sky.

This month, the full moon coincides with the spectacular Perseid meteor shower, which occurs annually during July and August. This year, the shower became active on July 17 and will be visible until August 24, although meteor rates peak on August 12 and 13.

Unfortunately, the brightness of the moon in the lead up to August 15 will make it difficult to see some of the fainter meteors on these peak dates, according to the American Meteor Society (AMS).

full moon
Picture of the full moon over Panama City taken on November 23, 2018. LUIS ACOSTA/AFP/Getty Images