August’s Fruit Duck Super Full Moon

Happy August Fruit Duck Super Full Moon!

Welcome to Issue 8 of Volume VI of Earth, Moon and Stars!

  The moon will become “exact” full Sunday (10th) at 18:10 Universal Time; correspondingly earlier in time zones west of Greenwich, and later in time zones to the east. See Seasonal Calendar below for times in some representative time zones.

   Since exact fullness this month occurs in most places either Sunday afternoon or early Monday morning, Ms. Luna will appear in her most splendid fullness Sunday night. The exceptions are the Hawaiians who, because of their mid-ground situation this time, will get an equally full show (weather permitting, of course) both Saturday and Sunday nights. And because fullness generally persists for general intents for three nights, people most everywhere will be offered a show of apparent fullness both Saturday and Monday nights as well.

In this issue:

      • Moon Names ~ Fruit Moon | When Young Ducks Begin to Fly
      • Seasonal Calendar ~ Moon dates and times
      • Skywatch ~ Super full moon 2 of 3
      • SkywatchPerseid meteor shower
      • Starwatch ~ Astronomy and Lore of the Zodiac ~ [Leo and Sagittarius]
      • Moon Art“Fruit Moon” by Robin Samiljan 
      • Astrology ~ Full Moon in Aquarius: Taking risks | Breaking free


August’s Fruit or Duck Full Moon (take your pick)

     As you know (especially if you’ve been following this blog), many cultures in both hemispheres kept track of the seasons by giving distinctive names to each recurring full moon, appropriate for the month in which it occurred and keyed – naturally enough – to the goings-on in their natural environment . . . the weather, the plants, the animals.

Fruit Moon
.  The Cherokee saw this moon as the Fruit Moon or Last Fruit Moon, and so Robin Samiljan – our resident artist for this year – took this theme for her August installment in her “A Year of Moons“ series. You can see her beautiful watercolor take on August’s Full Fruit Moon below in the Moon Art section.

Duck Moon
.   Switching our focus now away from plant life, we highlight this month the Moon When Young Ducks Begin to Fly, so called by the people of the Cree Nation, according to a number of sources I found. While again this name doesn’t require explanation, I found it intriguing, because I never stopped to wonder – much less notice – when ducklings do begin to fly. My exposure to water fowl has been largely confined to brief encounters at local water spots and the zoo. (Well, we did house an adult pair in a backyard pen for a few months when the kids were small, but we didn’t have them long enough [the ducks, not the kids] for them to go through a breeding cycle.) (ref Indian MoonsMoon Names for a Full Year)

    My awareness of duck/duckling behavior began when I was given a copy of Make Way for Ducklings (1941 by Robert McCloskey) when I was just learning to read — a book which I feel ought to be on every beginning reader’s must-read list.

Make Way for Ducklings

Make Way for Ducklings (Robert McCloskey, 1941)

   Not only did reading this book open my eyes to the natural ways of animals (since I wasn’t a Cree child growing up in the midst of nature), it showed me that we humans can stand down from our busy-ness and demonstrate that we are no more important than – in this case – a mallard mom and her kids.

   So in researching this further, I learned that at the beginning of spring mom duck lays 8 to 13 eggs (one per day), and then incubates them for a month. After hatching (April, more or less), the little guys take two months to fledge, and another couple of months before they begin flying. If you’ve been counting, that puts them square into August – just about now – conveniently in time before the weather begins to turn. The Cree – indeed all people before we began living apart from nature – were well aware of this cycle. Enough so to note it in the name of this full moon – and the ensuing month until the next full moon.

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Moon Dates and Times

August’s full moon:          Sunday August 10 18:10 UT (2:10 pm ET; 11:10 am PT)
.                                            Sunday August 10 8:10 am HAST; 9:10 pm IDT
.                                            Monday August 11 2:10 am PHT
August’s new moon:        Monday August 25 14:13 UT (10:13 pm PHT; 5:13 pm IDT;
.                                            10:13 am ET; 7:13 am PT; 4:13 am HAST)
September’s full moon:   Tuesday September 9 01:38 UT; 9:38 am PHT; 4:38 am IDT
.                                            Monday September 8 9:38 pm ET, 6:38 pm PT; 3:38 pm HAST
September equinox:        Tuesday September 23 02:29 UT; 10:29 am PHT; 5:29 am IDT
.                                           Monday September 22 10:29 pm ET, 7:29 pm PT; 4:29 pm HAST

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Super Full Moon

  This full moon will be the second of three “super” full moons this year. “Super” here means the Moon in its elliptical orbit will be at or near perigee (closest approach to Earth) around the time that it’s full. Thus she will appear slightly larger in diameter – and thus slightly brighter – than usual.

   The superimposed photos below present a graphic comparison of the difference in apparent sizes when the Moon is furthest from us in its elliptical orbit (“micro” moon, at apogee) and when it is closest (“super” moon, at perigee).

    She was actually “super” (near perigee) at the two new moons in January (1 and 30), but being new rather than full, one would find it difficult to detect this without optical aid.

   This full moon (August) and the following one (September) will also be super, with August’s seeing the closest approach of the three. This will bring it as much as 14% closer to Earth and thus up to 30% brighter than the furthest, dimmest full moon this year. While you won’t be able to distinguish the difference without instruments, a slightly larger supermoon is expected next year (2015) in September, with the closest/largest supermoon until 2034 to occur in November, 2016. (ref NASA, Weather)

   As you might suspect, the combo of fullness (Moon opposite the Sun) and relative nearness to Earth means tides around these times will be somewhat more extreme (higher highs, lower lows) than usual. Lots more interesting superness info at EarthSkyJul12EarthSkyAug9, and EarthSkyAug10.

Perseid Meteor Shower

   It’s that time of year again for everyone’s favorite meteor show – the Perseids, which are expected to peak this coming Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday (11, 12, 13). The good news is in northern climes in a normal year with a dark sky as a backdrop, observers have typically reported seeing more than 100 Perseid “shooting stars” per hour at their peak.

    The bad news is that this year somebody up there misread their cues, and so the shower will peak just after Ms. Luna will be at her brightest for the whole year. (I guess I should have given you advance warning last month; my apologies . . .) Still, “…the outcome could be beautiful” says NASA. Bill Cooke of NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office says you have an excellent chance of seeing “fireballs as bright as Jupiter or Venus” which will be visible in spite of the bright moonlight. (ref NASA)

    If you’re still interested and just can’t wait until next year, check out the following captivating articles:

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Astronomy and Lore of the Zodiac

  If you’ve been following this blog since last fall, you should be familiar by now with the basics of the zodiac. See the January post to brush up on the basics of the “astronomy behind the astrology”. Below is a diagram we’ve been using that you may find helpful in visualizing the zodiac.

   Briefly speaking, the astronomical zodiac consists of thirteen constellations that lie along the ecliptic. (“Thirteen?” you say? “I always heard there were twelve.” Well, this has to do with the difference between the astronomical and astrological zodiacs, which we touched on in the January post. We will explore it more in future posts.)

   You may recall from discussion on this blog in previous months that the ecliptic is the annual path that the sun seems to travel across the backdrop of the fixed stars.

Zodiac diagram

Astrological zodiac diagram

   Early astrologers idealized the ecliptic as a circle, divided it into twelve equal segments or “signs”, and gave each sign the name of the constellation it was near on the ecliptic (at the time). Today the signs and the constellations, while still having the same (or similar) names, do not correspond with each other in the sky. This is due to a number of unrelated phenomena. (See the January post for details.)

Constellation of the Month: Leo

   Leo “the Lion” is the zodiac constellation we feature this month, because this is the time that the sun is considered to be in this Western (or tropical) astrological sign.

Leo Major and Leo Minor (Urania's Mirror) (Sidney Hall)

Leo Major and Leo Minor (Urania’s Mirror) (Sidney Hall)

   Leo follows Cancer the Crab on the Zodiac and is one of easiest of the 13 constellations of the zodiac to identify in the night sky.

Leo diagram (earthsky)

Leo the Lion diagram (EarthSky)

    In contrast with astrological timing (see Astrological Sign of the Month below), the sun these days actually passes in front of the constellation Leo from about August 10 until Sepetember 16. (ref EarthSky)

   Leo can’t be seen in August and September because this is when it is on the other side of the Sun from us. As we pointed out in our April issue this year, April is the best time to view Leo. Early May can also work, but by mid-May it’s getting iffy. (See my April post for viewing details.) (ref Wikipedia, EarthSky, Space; Field Guide to the Night Sky, National Audubon Society)

Astrological Sign of the Month: Leo

   Leo is the fifth astrological sign in the Zodiac, originating from the constellation of the same name. Under the tropical zodiac, the sun transits the sign of Leo on average from July 23 to August 23 each year, and occupies the span from 120 to 150 degrees in the idealized 360 degree circle.

Leo the lion (Wikipedia)

Leo the lion (Wikipedia)

   Greek mythology tells the story of the Twelve Labors of Hercules, the second of which we talked about last month in the story of Karkinos the Crab. This month, per Wikipedia: “In Greek mythology, Leo was identified as the Nemean Lion which was killed by Heracles (Hercules to the Romans) during the first of his twelve labours.” And “Some mythologists believe that in Sumeria, Leo represented the monster Khumbaba, who was killed by Gilgamesh.”

Leo zodiac symbol

Leo zodiac symbol


The symbol for Leo (♌) represents the lion’s mane.




Constellation In View: Sagittarius

   The zodiac constellation easiest to see right now is Sagittarius the Archer. (We’ll highlight this constellation when we feature the zodiac sign Sagittarius in our December issue.) 

Sagittarius in Night Sky

Sagittarius in Night Sky


Constellation Sagittarius

Constellation Sagittarius

Sagittarius Teapot

Sagittarius Teapot










  To locate Sagittarius, you first want to select a place where it’s dark, meaning both away from city lights, and also preferably on a moonless night.

    Next you will want to locate the “Summer Triangle”. If you’re going to become a stargazer, the Summer Triangle is a basic constituent of Star-Gazing 101. Check out EarthSky’s Summer Triangle article for all the help you’ll need.

Summer Triangle

Summer Triangle

    If you’re going to become a stargazer, the Summer Triangle is a basic constituent of StarGazing 101. Check out EarthSky’s Summer Triangle article for all the help you’ll need.

Now jump to EarthSky’s How to see the constellation Sagittarius. Here you will find clear instructions for locating the constellation and identifying its signature asterism, the “Teapot”. Wikipedia’s article on Sagittarius also has plenty of details.



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Full Fruit Moon

Full Fruit Moon (August) by Robin Samiljan

     This beautiful watercolor is by Chicago artist Robin Samiljan from her collection
A Year of Moons“. Prints are available for purchase at Fine Art America

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Molly Hall ~ Full Moon in Aquarius – Reviving Air

    Molly Hall is chief astrologer at This month Molly writes about the Full Moon in Aquarius on her astrology site:  “Reviving Air, in which she informs us of Aquarius’ effect of lucidity and wakefulness. Here are some brief excerpts from this article:

     The Leo-Aquarius Full Moon is the swing and balance of staying true to yourself, and seeing your own dramatic role in the future-shaping of our times. A new vision of the future is illuminated. The energies are about risking it all, to undergo that change that you sense is necessary.

   Aquarius is like an unexpected breeze on a hot summer day. It’s the surprise breakthrough that comes in the midst of struggle. Or a startling event that wakes you up, like a cosmic alarm clock. This is a chance to rebel against deadening conformity, to break free — of ideas about reality, a habitual rhythm, deeply embedded conditioning. Epic ah-has happen at the Aquarius Full Moon, when we bust through our own (often self-imposed) glass ceiling and breathe the air.

   Here are Six Rituals for the Aquarius Full Moon, some that mirror the letting go process.

Super Full Moon in Aquarius

Super Full Moon in Aquarius (Global Light Minds)

   For those of you interested in exploring the effect related to your particular birth chart, Molly also has a separate article “Aquarius Full Moon in the Houses“, in which she provides forecasts according to the astrological “house” of your birth. 

  Molly has a lot more helpful insight around this full moon. For the complete reads, click “Reviving Air, and “Aquarius Full Moon in the Houses. Also visit Molly’s front page for more interesting astrology.

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Emily Trinkaus ~ Sunday’s Super Full Moon in Aquarius – She’s Super Freaky!

   Head priestess at virgo magic, Emily is based in Portland, OR, and works with astrology as a tool for healing, empowerment, personal growth and collective evolution. In addition, she and energy healer Katie Todd run the Full Moon Priestess website where they conduct monthly Full Moon Galactivation teleclasses for women.


Aquarius Full Moon (collage by Emily)

Aquarius Full Moon (collage by Emily)

   Emily’s column for this full moon is: Sunday’s Super Full Moon in Aquarius – She’s Super Freaky! The full article is definitely worth a look. Here is a brief synopsis from this refreshingly personal approach to astrology:

    Sunday’s Full Moon in Aquarius shines the light on your ideals and vision for the future; innovation, creativity and genius; friends, groups, communities and organizations; and using your unique gifts in service to the collective.

    Because it will be a super full moon, we’re likely to feel its effects more powerfully, meaning high emotional tides, along with enhanced opportunities for healing, revelation and breakthrough.

    This lunar cycle started with the Leo New Moon on July 26, which encouraged you to dream big, take a risk, and follow your inspiration. Now, at the peak of the cycle, the Full Moon tests your commitment to your vision, and challenges you to bring your dream into reality.

    Saturn, traditional ruler of Aquarius, works through PRESSURE – are you feeling the squeeze? Saturn can feel like a buzz kill on the Leo Sun’s fun and spontaneity, and the Aquarius Moon’s freedom and flow. The emotion associated with Saturn is FEAR, and the Full Moon stirs up Leo/Aquarian “issues” around: belonging and not belonging (feeling like the Outsider or Alien); seeking approval and fearing rejection if you really let your freak flag fly; and suppressing your true self and playing a role to fit in and be accepted.

   Emily has more good stuff to say on this. For the full read – which I highly recommend – click on the above title line to visit her page.

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Aquarius (symbol)

Aquarius (symbol)

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   If you especially like (or dislike) something you see here, or would like to see something in particular covered in a future issue, or you have something interesting about the Earth, Moon, or Stars you would like to share, please leave a comment. I’m always interested in how folks who stop by here are moved/influenced/affected by what they encounter here.

   Until the full moon in September, here’s wishing all of us a month of risk-taking and breaking free!

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A few detail-oriented folks have inquired about my use (or mis-use) of Initial Caps in words like earth, moon, and sun. In the long run, it doesn’t affect understanding; Whether I write ”the President” or “the president”, you still know who I’m referring to. I write “the Northern Hemisphere”, just as you would (correctly) write “the West Coast”; it’s a proper name, and in English we capitalize proper names.

When it comes to suns and moons it can get confusing. There are billions of suns out there; we have given names to more than 40 million of them, ranging from names given in other languages (e.g., Aldebaran), to less fanciful but more utilitarian names, such as HD 140913. The International Astronomical Union (IAU) has decreed that our sun is the only one without such a proper name, although historically and in poesy it’s been called by quite a few.

Similarly for our moon. We’ve christened all of the other 182 moons in our solar system with names – ours is the only one we call the Moon.

Since we capitalize the names of all the other heavenly bodies (even asteroids and comets, for pity’s sake), I feel we ought to show at least as much respect for the ones most important to us. The IAU agrees.

So does Wikipedia. Their Manual of Style says: “The words sun, earth, moon and solar system are capitalized (as proper names) when used in an astronomical context to refer to a specific celestial body (our Sun, Earth, Moon and Solar System): The Sun is the star at the center of the Solar System; The Moon orbits the Earth. They are not capitalized when used outside an astronomical context (The sky was clear and the sun felt warm), or when used in a general sense (Io is a moon of Jupiter).”

Sometimes it’s a fine line. If I write “by the light of the silvery moon”, I won’t capitalize it, because I’m referring to an image of the celestial body, not the body itself. By contrast, if I write, “the light from the Sun reflects off the surface of the Moon,” I capitalize both, because I’m referring directly to the celestial bodies.

If you inspect the archives of this blog, you will likely see many instances where I departed from this rule. We’ll call these oversights, and eventually I will correct them. Meanwhile, it’s an interesting challenge just to follow it in new writings. Are we having fun, yet?

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The Earth, Moon and Stars blog is published once each Full Moon with (hopefully interesting) facts and lore about our moon and other sky phenomena. My wish is that you will have fun learning a bit more about our one and only natural satellite and how all of us — people, animals, plants, water, even rocks — are affected and connected by her.

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Unless otherwise noted, this blog claims no credit for any images appearing on it. Copyrighted images remain the property of their respective owners; attribution and/or links are provided when known. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and you do not wish for it appear here, please leave a comment with your email address and a link to the image in question and it will be promptly removed. Your comment will not be made public.


About aquarianman

Aquarian interested in anything to do with the Earth, our Moon, and anything flying around out there in space.
This entry was posted in Astrology, astronomy, Constellations, moon, Mythology and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to August’s Fruit Duck Super Full Moon

  1. ScorpionGlow says:

    It’s been visibly enormous for the past few days. I only managed to catch it the one night I was able to keep my eyes open past 9:00.

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