Enjoy this full moon, folks – it’s going to be a nice one.
As the first full Moon of summer, the Algonquin tribes in what is now the Eastern US called this full Moon the Buck Moon, as 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. Note that some calendars give these names to the full Moon in July, regardless of whether it is the first or second Moon of Summer, but I think the Algonquin tribes would have gone by the seasons rather than the European calendar.
A new tribe has also given this full Moon a name. This new tribe is geographically scattered but mostly living in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States. This tribe’s language is primarily English, but with a liberal smattering of acronyms and Hawaiian phrases (cheerfully contributed by the former Deputy Manager of the Project). Comprised of people from all backgrounds, this tribe devoted its efforts to the study of the Moon. This tribe calls June’s full Moon the LRO Moon, in honor of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft they placed in orbit around the Moon on June 23, 2009. Four years later, LRO continues to orbit and observe the Moon, resulting in major surprises, changing our understanding of the Moon, and leading to new science results published in over 160 peer reviewed papers.
Since this is the Thunder Moon, a quick note on lightning safety. Most of the lighting that strikes the ground arcs from the negatively charged bottom of the storm to the ground underneath the storm. Much more rare is positive lightning, which arcs from the top of a thunderstorm to strike the ground up to eight miles away from the storm. Positive lightning can sometimes strike areas where the sky is clear (hence the term “bolt out of the blue”). Because it arcs across a greater distance it tends to be 5 to 10 times more powerful that regular ground strikes. Though positive lightning is rare (less than 5% of all lightning strikes), the lack of warning combined with its greater power tends to make it more dangerous. A good rule to follow is if you can hear the thunder, you can be struck by the lightning. As a bicycle commuter I am well aware that the inch or so of rubber tire between my metal bicycle and the ground will make little difference to a bolt that can arc across miles of air from the top of a thunderstorm to the ground. Be safe!- See more at: http://www.astrobio.net/paleblueblog/?p=2060