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Why tonight's full moon is called a 'buck moon'

Tonight's full moon is called a "buck moon" in North America.

The moon will be at its fullest at 6:57 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time tonight, though it will not be visible to North Americans until sometime around 8 p.m. on the East Coast, when the moon rises above the horizon. The moon will technically be in its waning gibbous phase by the time it is visible to North American eyes, but will still appear full.

Names of moons often date back to Native American tribes, and early European settlers. They helped keep track of seasons, and important events at those times. August's full moon, for example, is called the Sturgeon Moon, named for the species of fish that is best caught in the Great Lakes at around that time, according to the Farmer's Almanac.

The name "buck moon" is one of three names given to the moon in North America in July because it arrives during the time when male deer, called "bucks," are beginning to grow their antlers. Other names include the "hay moon," when farmers are beginning to store their hay, and "thunder moon," for the number of thunderstorms that occur at this time, as the Almanac noted.