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Friday's Full Buck Moon May Look Red - How To See It

A full moon from space will be visible in the night sky this Friday, and when it appears, it may come with a distinct red/orange color. The moon goes through a few distinct phases throughout any given month, and one time during the month, the full visible side of the moon is available for all to see. Ignoring myths that a full moon makes people crazy and turns them into werewolves, staring up at a full moon against a clear night sky is one of the best times for any space enthusiast.

While everyone knows about full moons, what's less common knowledge is that each full moon has a different name and trait that comes with it. The full moon that appears in January, for example, is referred to as the Wolf Moon. This is because Native Americans and European settlers often heard wolves howling during the cold winter months when they were hungry and looking for food. There's also the Strawberry Moon in June — getting its name from Algonquin, Ojibwe, and other tribes who traditionally spent the month gathering strawberries that were ready to be picked.

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The next full moon is happening on Friday, July 23, and it's referred to as the Buck Moon. Once again coming from Native Americans, The Old Farmer's Almanac says the name stems from the antlers of male deers being at their peak growth during this time of year. There's no tradition of the Buck Moon being red, however, so what's causing this year's unusual color? As reported by CNBC, it'll be a result of the ongoing wildfires plaguing multiple Western states — including California and Oregon as the two most affected areas. These states have been battling wildfires for the past few weeks, and because of the fires' historic size and quantity, their smoke has carried across the country to New York, Canada, and other regions in between. Similar to how that smoke has created sunrises/sunsets with red and orange hues, it may also change the appearance of the upcoming Buck Moon. It remains to be seen how intense the red color will be, but it's all but guaranteed this year's Buck Moon will look unlike any other.

For those interested in catching a glimpse of the Buck Moon, doing so will be quite easy. NASA says that the peak viewing time will be at 10:37 PM EDT on Friday, July 23, though it will be visible from Thursday evening up until Sunday morning. Anyone in the country should see it without a problem, though people closer to the Western part of the country will likely be treated to a more intense red color. Because of how far the smoke has been carried across the country, however, watchers as far away as New York may also catch a glimpse of reddish/orangish Buck Moon.

As with any moon-viewing or star-gazing, there are a few tips to keep in mind before heading out. Dress appropriately for the weather, go outside 20-30 minutes early so everyone's eyes have time to adjust to the darkness, and try to get as far away from major cities to avoid pesky light pollution. People in those Western states will want to be mindful of any ongoing fires near them, and because of the time of year, everyone should keep on the lookout for possible thunderstorms. Be safe, be smart, and happy full moon-watching.

Next: NASA Is Sending A Message For Future Humans Into Space

Source: The Old Farmer's Almanac, CNBC, NASA

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