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August Full Super Moon Ripens in Waning Summer Sky

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It’s time for the second round of super moons for 2015, only unlike the first three, which were new moons, these are bold and bright full moons.

First up is August 29, when at 2:35 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time the moon hits full status and almost simultaneously is at its closest approach to Earth for the month, known as perigee. The view, especially at moonrise, should be, well, super—starting with its heavenly apparition while the sun is still opposite it on the horizon.

“It rises in the eastern sky minutes before the sun sets and reaches its peak in the south around 1 a.m. local daylight time,” says “The moon lies among the background stars of Aquarius the Water-bearer, due south of the Great Square of Pegasus.”

Contrary to what some believe, a super moon’s gravitational pull is not enough to cause disasters such as earthquakes.

“Although the sun and the moon’s alignment cause a small increase in tectonic activity, the effects of the super moon on Earth are minor,” says. “Many scientists have conducted studies and haven’t found anything significant that can link the super moon to for example natural disasters.”

The tides, however, are yanked around a bit more than usual.

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“When this happens, there are some physical effects, such as elevated tides,” the Old Farmer’s Almanac says of super moons. “All full moons raise the Earth's tides; however, a full moon at perigee elevates tides further.”

Besides size, another thing to look out for with this month’s full moon is its path through the sky, which mirrors that of the sun in winter, says That’s in the Northern Hemisphere. It follows the sun’s summer path in the Southern Hemisphere, where it is winter now, says.

Super or not, the August moon carries American Indian names redolent of the harvest, summer’s heat and ripening fruit, according to information compiled by Phil Konstantin at Skywise Unlimited, formerly under the auspices of Western Washington University Planetarium. The Anishnaabe (Chippewa and Ojibwe) call it miini-giizis, the berry moon, while the Assiniboine of the northern plains named it capasapsaba, black cherries moon. The Lakota call it wasutoa wi, moon of the ripening, while the Sioux dubbed it cherries turn black. Likewise the Tlingit have dubbed their August full moon sha-ha-yi, or berries ripe on mountain. Also in the fruit realm are the Wishram of the Columbia River in Washington and Oregon, who called it blackberry patches moon, and the Shawnee, with po'kamawi kiishthwa, or plum moon.

Other names evoke aspects of summer: The Passamaquoddy call it apsqe, feather shedding moon; similarly, the Arapaho of the Great Plains called it geese shedding their feathers moon. The Shoshone call it simply hot, which is guuteyai-mea'. Then there’s the Mohawk’s seskehko:wa, moon of freshness, the Hopi with paamuya, or moon of joyful, and the Choctaw, whose name spans late August–September, the frisky Hash Tek Inhasi, or courting time. Lastly we have the Kalapuya of Oregon in the Pacific Northwest, who named it after the waning season: akupiu, end of summer.

The next two super moons promise to be even more spectacular, especially the one on September 28, which not only marks the moon’s closest approach for the entire year, but also treats Turtle Island to a total lunar eclipse. Stay tuned!

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