August’s full Sturgeon Moon reaches its peak on Sunday morning, August 22, 2021. So, be sure to look up both Saturday and Sunday nights! Learn why August’s Full Moon got such a peculiar name!
When to See the Full Moon in August 2021
August’s full Moon will first appear on the night of Saturday, August 21, before reaching peak illumination at 8:02 A.M. Eastern Time on Sunday, August 22. On either of these nights, look toward the southeast after sunset to catch a glimpse of the Sturgeon Moon rising.
August’s Blue Moon
This full Moon is also a Blue Moon! Specifically, it’s a seasonal Blue Moon, meaning that it’s the third of the four full Moons to occur within the season of summer. Typically, only three full Moons happen in a season, but when the dates of the full Moons and those of the equinoxes and solstices line up just right, a fourth full Moon can manage to fit into the season as well. The third full Moon in the series is then considered to be a Blue Moon.
You may have also heard of another definition of a Blue Moon: the second full Moon to occur within one calendar month. This definition tends to be more common. Read more about Blue Moons here!
Why Is It Called the Sturgeon Moon?
The full Moon names used by The Old Farmer’s Almanac come from a number of places, including Native American, Colonial American, and European sources. Traditionally, each full Moon name was applied to the entire lunar month in which it occurred, not solely to the full Moon.
The Sturgeon Moon
August’s full Moon was traditionally called the Sturgeon Moon because the giant sturgeon of the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain were most readily caught during this part of summer.
What Is a Sturgeon?
These prehistoric-looking fish have been traced back to around 136 million years ago and many people call them “living fossils.”
Females require around 20 years to start reproducing, and they can only reproduce every 4 years. However, they can live up to 150 years!
Today, there are about 29 species worldwide, including the lake sturgeon found in the Great Lakes. They have evolved in size from the size of a bass to monster sturgeon as big as a Volkswagen.
The lake sturgeon is quite rare today, due to intense overfishing in the 19th century, pollution, and damage to their habitat.
Alternative August Moon Names
Flying Up Moon is a Cree term describing the time when young birds are finally ready to take the leap and learn to fly.
Corn Moon (Algonquin, Ojibwe), Harvest Moon (Dakota), and Ricing Moon (Anishinaabe) signify that this is the time to gather maturing crops. Along the same vein, the Assiniboine people named this period Black Cherries Moon, referring to when chokecherries become ripe.
The Tlingit people of the Pacific Northwest traditionally called this time of the season the Mountain Shadows Moon.