A full moon and a lunar eclipse? Things are about to get very interesting…
If you are among them, though, make sure you keep your evenings free for a little stargazing. Because this weekend (5 July) will see a so-called ‘Buck Moon’ rising over the skies of the UK.
Even better? There’s going to be a penumbral lunar eclipse, too.
With that in mind, then, here’s everything you need to know about this month’s Full Buck Moon in Capricorn.
First things first, what is a Buck Moon?
You may hear this particular full moon referred to by various names, including the Buck Moon, Thunder Moon, and Hay Moon.
“The Maine Farmer’s Almanac first published [Native American] names for the full moons in the 1930s. As the full moon in July and the first full moon of summer, the Algonquin tribes of what is now the northeastern United States called this full Moon the Buck Moon,” explains NASA.
“Early summer is normally when the new antlers of buck deer push out of their foreheads in coatings of velvety fur. They also called this the Thunder Moon because of early summer’s frequent thunderstorms.”
Here in the UK, though, our July full moon is better known as the Wyrt Moon or the Mead Moon.
As per The Almanac: A Seasonal Guide To 2020: “Wyrt is an Old English word for ‘herbs’, and the medieval name Wyrt Moon for July’s full moon reflects the fact that while little has ripened yet, greenery and herbs are plentiful.
“This is also the time beekeepers take their first honey of the year, and so the making of mead – a fermented honey drink – could begin, an important pastime in medieval Britain… hence the name Mead Moon.”
When will the Buck Moon be visible?
Here in the UK, July’s full moon will be visible in the night sky on the evening of Sunday 5 July.
While the moon will technically be at its fullest at around 4.45am on that day, it won’t be visible in the sky until it rises that night at around 9pm.
It won’t set again until roughly 4.50am in the early hours of Monday morning, meaning it will be visible in all its glory throughout the night – providing we don’t have too many rainclouds blocking our view, of course.
And what about July’s penumbral lunar eclipse?
According to astronomers at the Royal Observatory Greenwich: “A penumbral lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon travels only through the outer, fainter part of the Earth’s shadow, or ‘penumbra’. This happens when the Earth moves between the Sun and Moon but the three do not form a perfectly straight line.
“The penumbra causes only a slight darkening of the Moon’s surface, with the Moon still exposed to some direct sunlight, so this type of eclipse is easy to miss.”
The full eclipse will begin around 4.29am: this is when the moon will start turning red in colour.
“The maximum eclipse in London is at 5.06am as this is the point at which the entire Moon is still above the horizon at the greatest magnitude Moonset is at 5.10am,” according to astronomy experts (as per the RMG website).
“The actual maximum eclipse is at 5.11am however the Moon will be below the horizon at this time and as it sets.”
How will the Full Buck Moon in Capricorn impact our sleep patterns?
You don’t have to be a werewolf to feel restless when the full moon rises: in a study, researchers found that, on nights when the moon is full, we lose (on average) around 20 minutes of sleep.
Researchers also found that it took about five minutes longer for participants to fall asleep around the time of a full moon than around a new moon. Deep sleep was, on average, 30% decreased around the time of a full moon.
So why is this?
Well, people sleeping in the lab nearer to the day of a full moon had lower evening levels of melatonin, a hormone important to circadian rhythm that drives the body’s cycles of day and night and, therefore, wakefulness and sleep.
“We have evidence that the distance to the nearest full-moon phase significantly influences human sleep and evening melatonin levels when measured under strictly controlled laboratory conditions, where factors such as light and personal moon perception can be excluded,” said lead study author Christian Cajochen of the Psychiatric Hospital of the University of Basel in Switzerland.
How will the Full Buck Moon in Capricorn affect your zodiac sign?
“Look back to 26 December 2019, the date of the corresponding Capricorn new moon, which was a potent solar eclipse,” they advise. “Any seeds planted then could be ready to harvest. And since both are borne out of the mystical energy of eclipses, there could be a surprising bonus yield to this crop, especially if you’ve put in ‘sweat equity’ and hustle.”
The Astro Twins note: “Symbolised by the persistent and steady Sea-Goat, the Capricorn full moon shines its inspector’s high beams on your life. This full moon can be humbling as it reveals where you’ve cut corners or skipped steps.
“If you got distracted from your mission, you could snap back to attention. Pick up the ball and run with it again. It’s never too late to start over!”
Kimberley Peta Dewhurst, the professional astrologer behind StarSignStyle.com, adds that this is a particularly good time for anyone with a Capricorn sun sign.
“The moon moves through your own sign this weekend,” she says, “illuminating your ‘self’, health, persona, and identity.
“Great focus can be lent towards YOU, to personal projects, your appearance, and physicality – take up space! You could be in the mood to nourish and refuel, to step into full form and enjoy attention, or turn heads and express how you really feel.”
How can we harness the energy and power of the Full Buck Moon in Capricorn?
Moonologist Yasmin Boland previously told Stylist that, once the full moon is over (it usually lasts for a few days), the moon goes into the waning cycle, growing smaller in the sky every night until the next new moon two weeks later.
“The key word for the waning cycle, from full moon to new moon, is surrender,” she explains. “It’s about connecting to the divine and your higher self, as well as letting go, releasing and coming to terms with things, making peace, sharing your knowledge and generally going a little bit easier on yourself. It’s not necessarily the time to start new projects – that’s the waxing cycle.
“The waning cycle is very much about letting things go and looking at what didn’t work out.”
Boland adds: “If you want to go up one level, learning not just what phase the moon is in, but also what sign it’s in, can be really powerful as well.
“My Moonology app/website will send you a daily message telling you what phase the moon is in and what sign it’s in, and then it will give you a little interpretation.”
Images: Getty / Unsplash / Melanie Magdalena