Here's when July's full moon shines and how to spot the 'Summer Triangle' in Indiana (2024)

John TuftsIndianapolis Star

July is often filled with heavenly sights — fireworks, lightning from the occasional thunderstorm and the full Buck Moon, which charges across the summer sky toward the end of the month.

Skywatchers in July also should have a good view of Jupiter and the star Deneb, according to NASA. As one of the brightest stars in the constellation Cygnus, Deneb forms what astronomers call the "Summer Triangle." Here's where to find it and what we know about the moon's phases in July.

When is the next full moon in July 2024?

The Buck Moon shines its fullest Sunday, July 21, 2024. The moon's phases in July are:

  • 🌑New Moon: July 5.
  • 🌓First Quarter: July 13.
  • 🌕Full Moon: July 21.
  • 🌗Last Quarter: July 28.

Why is it called the Buck Moon?

It's around this time of year when a male deer's newly formed antlers begin to push out from the buck's head, according to the Old Farmer's Almanac. Other names for July's full moon from Native American tribes include the Salmon Moon, Thunder Moon, and Halfway Summer Moon.

When is the best time to see the full moon in July 2024?

For the Indianapolis area, moonrise will happen at roughly 9:53 p.m. Sunday, July 21, crossing the meridian at 2:43 a.m. before setting at 7:42 a.m. Monday.

You can check both moonrise and moonset times for your zip code by visiting the Old Farmer's Almanac online.

What is the 'Summer Triangle'?

Three shining stars — Deneb, Vega and Altair — form what's called the "Summer Triangle." This grouping is considered "an asterism," which means it's a simple, recognizable pattern of stars but not an official constellation. Skywatchers will note these three are among the brightest stars in the Northern Hemisphere, and can be spotted with relative ease, even in areas with light pollution.

The Summer Triangle serves as "stellar calendar," writes Astronomy publication, heralding a change of seasons when the triangle becomes a familiar sight starting around mid to late June.

How to find the 'Summer Triangle'

To find the Summer Triangle, look toward the east at dusk after sunset and you'll likely spot Vega, shining blue and white as one of the brightest stars on July evenings. Vega is the top of the triangle.

Below Vega and to its right is Altair, which is 17 light-years away from Earth and about twice the mass and radius of the Sun, according to Finishing the triangle is Deneb, which is below Vega but appears higher than Altair.

And once you find Deneb, congratulations, you've also found the tail of Cygnus, the swan constellation.

Why does the moon sometimes appear red?

You may have noticed the moon will occasionally take on a dramatic shade of orange or red in the night sky. That's because of how sunlight strikes the moon's surface after passing through our atmosphere.

When the moon moves into the inner part of Earth's shadow, or umbra, according to NASA, some of the sunlight entering Earth's skies scatters before reaching the moon's surface.

Colors with shorter wavelengths, such as blues and violets, scatter more easily than colors with longer wavelengths, which include red and orange. The more dust or clouds in Earth's atmosphere during a lunar eclipse, the redder the moon appears.

When is the next full moon of 2024?

The Sturgeon Moon is set to swim into the night sky Monday, Aug. 19, 2024.

Look up: Here's when every full moon shines in 2024

When was the last full moon?

The last full moon, known as the Strawberry Moon, reached peak illumination June 21.

2024 full moon names

Here's a list of the full moon names for 2024, courtesy of theOld Farmer's Almanac:

  • January: Wolf Moon
  • February: Snow Moon
  • March: Worm Moon
  • April: Pink Moon
  • May: Flower Moon
  • June: Strawberry Moon
  • July: Buck Moon
  • August: Sturgeon Moon
  • September: Corn Moon
  • October: Hunter Moon
  • November: Beaver Moon
  • December: Cold Moon

Astronomical events happening in July 2024

Skywatchers, according to NASA, should keep the following dates in mind for July 2024.

July 1:Jupiter and Saturn continue to shift westward as the lunar cycle continues, with Mars shifting more to the left. The waning moon will pass Mars on July 1, the Pleiades star cluster July 2, then Jupiter on July 3.

July 5:New moon.

July 13:First quarter. Mercury will shift to the left, low along the horizon, reaching its highest point above the horizon, about 2 degrees as twilight ends.

July 21:Full moon. As twilight begins (at roughly 4:52 a.m. EDT), the setting full moon will be 7 degrees above the southwestern horizon. The brightest planet in the sky will be Jupiter at 25 degrees above the eastern horizon. Mars will be 33 degrees above the eastern horizon and Saturn 45 degrees above the southern horizon. The bright object appearing closest overhead will be the star Deneb at 56 degrees above the west-northwestern horizon.

June 28:Last quarter of the moon.

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Here's when July's full moon shines and how to spot the 'Summer Triangle' in Indiana (2024)


What does the Summer Triangle mean? ›

So when the stars of the Summer Triangle light up the eastern twilight dusk in middle to late June, it's a sure sign of the change of seasons, of spring giving way to summer.

What does the July full moon mean? ›

July's full moon is also known as the Buck Moon as July is the month that the antlers of male deer begin to emerge.

How to find Deneb star? ›

Once you've found Vega, look eastwards by around 25 degrees and you should locate magnitude +1.25 Deneb (alpha Cygni), the primary star of Cygnus, the Swan, and the faintest star of the Triangle-trio.

Is Vega in the Summer Triangle? ›

The Summer Triangle is as familiar to amateur astronomers as Orion or the Big Dipper. It's comprised of three of the brightest stars in the sky—Vega, Altair and Deneb—which are so much brighter than the stars around them that they make the triangle a landmark, or rather, a skymark.

What is another name for Summer Triangle? ›

The name can be found in constellation guidebooks as far back as 1913. The Austrian astronomer Oswald Thomas described these stars as Grosses Dreieck (Great Triangle) in the late 1920s and Sommerliches Dreieck (Summerly Triangle) in 1934.

What are some facts about July full moon? ›

The full Moon in July is called the Buck Moon because the antlers of male deer (bucks) are in full-growth mode at this time. Bucks shed and regrow their antlers each year, producing a larger and more impressive set as the years go by.

What is the nickname for the July full moon? ›

July: Buck Moon

Male deer, which shed their antlers every year, begin to regrow them in July, hence the Native American name for July's full moon. Some refer to this moon as the thunder moon, due to the summer storms in this month.

What is the spiritual significance of the full moon? ›

From ancient mythologies to modern spiritual practices, this celestial event is often associated with heightened emotions, intuition, and spiritual enlightenment. Many believe that during a full moon, the veil between the physical and spiritual worlds is thinner, allowing for deeper connections and insights.

What is the story behind Deneb? ›

In the Chinese love story of Qi Xi, Deneb marks the magpie bridge across the Milky Way, which allows the separated lovers Niu Lang (Altair) and Zhi Nü (Vega) to be reunited on one special night of the year in late summer. In other versions of the story, Deneb is a fairy who acts as chaperone when the lovers meet.

What is the easiest star to find in the sky? ›

What is the Easiest Star to Identify? Polaris, also known as the North Star, is one of the easiest stars to identify in the night sky.

What is the spiritual meaning of the star Deneb? ›

Mostly associated with spirituality, creativity and learning, Deneb Adige can be likened to the nature of Venus and Mercury and “gives ingenious nature and a clever intellect that is quick at learning” according to Vivian Robeson in The Fixed Stars and their Constellations in Astrology.

What is the story behind the Summer Triangle? ›

The young maiden settled at the star Vega, and the cowherd at the star Altair, forever separated by the band of the Milky Way. When the magpies heard this sad tale, they decided to get together to form a bridge across the Milky Way, represented by the star Deneb, so the two lovers could reunite for one day each summer.

How long is the Summer Triangle visible? ›

The Summer Triangle — which consists of the three bright stars Deneb, Vega and Altair — is visible from late spring until winter, but it's highest in the sky during the summer months.

Why is Aquarius the luckiest constellation? ›

Several of its stars have names that signify luck or good fortune. The most prominent examples are the constellation's two brightest stars, Sadalmelik and Sadalsuud. The names are from ancient Arabic, and mean “lucky one of the king” and “luckiest of the lucky.” The names may refer to the stars' positions.

What is the difference between the Summer Triangle and the Winter Triangle? ›

In the past I have talked about the Summer Triangle consisting of three bright stars in the summer sky namely, Deneb, Altair, and Vega. Did you know that there is also a Winter Triangle formed by the three stars, Sirius, Betelgeuse, and Procyon? Each of these bright stars belongs to a different constellation.

What is the meaning of the Spring Triangle? ›

The Spring Triangle is an astronomical asterism involving an imaginary triangle drawn upon the celestial sphere, with its defining vertices at Arcturus, Spica, and Regulus. This triangle connects the constellations of Boötes, Virgo, and Leo.

What does the triangle mean in temperature? ›

Explanation: In a chemical equation, a triangle above the arrow represents the use of heat or a specific temperature condition in the reaction. It indicates that the reaction requires the input of heat energy to proceed. This is known as a heat symbol or delta symbol (∆).

What does the triangle mean in the universe? ›

Science has confirmed that the triangle is the basic structure, the foundation, underlying all manifestation. Manifestation is related to the material world, to all that is seen in the whole universe.

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