The full moon of July will rise tonight (July 19), bringing us a lunar charm commonly known as the Full Buck Moon.

A full moon occurs each month when the sun, Earth, and moon line up. At this time, the Earth-facing side of the moon is completely lit up by sunlight. This month, the full moon rises to its prime at 6:57 p.m. EDT on Tuesday. However, for some unaided observers, the monthly full moon appears full about a day before and after the actual full moon phase

The moniker Full Buck Moon symbolizes the time of the year when male deer, known as bucks, start to grow their new antlers. While this nickname is most commonly used, it is only one of the many lunar names for this month's full moon. [The Full Moon: Why It Happens | Video]

July's full moon has also been called the Full Thunder Moon and the Full Hay Moon, as July is considered to be the season with the most frequent thunderstorms and the time of year when farmers harvest, bale and stow hay for the upcoming winter. 

Full moons generally rise once a month — with the exception of a "Blue Moon," which appears twice in a month — and the variety of names given to these spectacular lunar events stems from ancient cultures, including Native American tribes living in the northeast U.S., according to The Farmer's Almanac. In Chinese culture, for example, the full moon of July is referred to as the Hungry Ghost Moon.

Editor's note:If you snap an awesome photo of the moon that you'd like to share with Space.com and our news partners for a potential story or gallery, send images and comments in to managing editor Tariq Malik at spacephotos@space.com.

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