Wednesday

Is there any better way to end a summer’s day than to sit for few minutes and watch a beautiful full moon appear above the horizon in the east?

Most of us have witnessed this monthly event at one time or another, but usually only by accident. However, it's predictable down to the second and hugely worth planning a special trip to see.

As our satellite appears on the horizon, it’s a pale orange color–for the same reasons that a setting Sun is orange–and it soon turns a pale yellow before, eventually, it rises higher in the sky and becomes that bright white-ish orb we’re all familiar with. What makes “full moon day” different to any other moonrise is that as well as being 100 percent illuminated, the moon's setting and rising come during twilight, just before or after the Sun sets. What is the 'Sturgeon Moon?'

August 15 sees the rise of what North Americans popularly call the Sturgeon Moon, so named because August is the month that Native Americans deemed best for catching a large lake fish that used to be common (they’re now super-rare). For the most part, full moon names are meaningless to modern people, especially those with “locally sourced” names like Sturgeon Moon. In my opinion, it’s a bad moon name with no resonance. August’s full moon has also been called the Grain Moon, Green Corn Moon, Fruit Moon, and Barley Moon, though none of them seem particularly relevant.

Why is it called the Full Sturgeon Moon?

It’s a name derived from a Native American tribe that used to track the seasons using the Moon. At this time of year the sturgeon fish, North America's largest lake fish, used to be caught in the Great Lakes, according to the Old Farmer's Almanac (it’s now critically endangered). The Full Green Corn Moon, Full Barley Moon, Wheat Cut Moon, Blueberry Moon, and Blackberry Moon are other names that have been given to August’s full moon by various tribes, again to indicate the harvest time for those crops. There are two chances to see the full moon at its most illuminated this month. Here are times for 10 cities around the world.


London: 5:17 a.m. and 8:47 p.m.
New York: 5:57 a.m and 8:21 p.m.
Paris: 6:16 a.m. and 9:28 p.m.
Singapore: 6:45 a.m. and 7:12 p.m.
Tokyo: 4:20 a.m. and 6:36 p.m.
Hong Kong: 5:31 a.m. and 6:58 p.m.
Dubai: 5:30 a.m. and 7:04 p.m.
Beijing: 4:47 a.m. and 7:20 p.m.
Sydney: 6:26 a.m. and 5:05 p.m.
Los Angeles: 6:15 a.m and 8:10 p.m.


Although these times are the best for watching the August’s full moon closest to its 100% illumination–and closest to sunrise and sunset–you could also try to catch a moonset or moonrise on Monday and Wednesday. It will be almost as impressive, something that's not down to the percentage illumination, but the clarity of the sky and the timing during twilight. Put simply, a moonrise in pitch black isn't as interesting.

How to see Earth's shadow and the full moon

However, watching a moonset or moonrise isn’t the only incredible thing you can see during twilight. You can also see Earth’s shadow, and a beautiful, fleeting and very colorful consequence of it. When you're out full moon-gazing, look out for a very distinctive pinkish hue in the sky close to the horizon. Caused by the shadow that Earth casts on the atmosphere opposite the sunset, this atmospheric phenomenon is called the Belt of Venus. It’s actually the light of the sunset being reflected off the atmosphere. You’ll see in in the west just before sunrise and in the east just after sunset. Soon after, it will get swallowed up as Earth's dark blue shadow rises upwards as the Sun gets lower beneath the horizon.


The Anishnaabe (Chippewa and Ojibwe) call it miini-giizis, the berry moon, while the Assiniboine of the northern plains named it capasapsaba, black cherries moon. The Lakota call it wasutoa wi, moon of the ripening, while the Sioux dubbed it cherries turn black.

Likewise the Tlingit have dubbed their August full moon sha-ha-yi, or berries ripe on mountain. Also in the fruit realm are the Wishram of the Columbia River in Washington and Oregon, who called it blackberry patches moon, and the Shawnee, with po'kamawi kiishthwa, or plum moon.

August Full Moon Names From Native American and Other Different Cultures Joyful Moon (Hopi). First Acorns (Pomo). Ripen moon (Dakota). Dispute Moon (Celtic). Cutter Moon (Abernaki). Dog Days moon (Yuchi). Corn Silk Moon (Ponca). Harvest Moon (Chinese). Berry Moon (Anishnaabe). Women's Moon (Choctaw). Mulberries Moon (Natchez). Middle moon (Potawatomi). Freshness Moon (Mohawk). Yelow flower moon (Osage). Blackberry Moon (Wishram). Acorns Ripen Moon (Maidu). Wheat Cut Moon (San Juan). Lightning Moon (Neo Pagan). Black Cherries Moon (Sioux). Yellow Leaves moon (Kiowa).

Edible Corn Moon (Algonquin). Young Ducks Fly Moon (Cree). Black Cherries Moon (Assiniboine). Dog Day's Moon (Colonial American). Autumn Moon (Taos Native American). Corn Moon, Wort Moon (Medieval English). Geese Shedding Feathers Moon (Arapaho). Feather Shedding Moon (Passamaquoddy). Dispute Moon (Full Janic), Harvest Moon (Dark Janic). Big Harvest moon, Heat Moon, Big Rippening Moon (Creek). Fruit Moon, Drying Moon, Last Fruit Moon, Grain Moon (Cherokee). Red Moon,Sturgeon Moon, Green Corn Moon, Dog Days Moon (Algonquin).

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Saturday

A woman filmed a large herd of elk that gathered at a neighbor’s home in Gearhart, Oregon this past summer. The amazing moment began when her father was taking photos of ten elk by their home. She told ViralHog:

“This is a local elk herd but seeing them this close together does not happen often (I’ve never seen another video or picture before). My dad had been taking pictures of a smaller group of ten elk and walked back to our house and said ‘you might want to go back out because the elk seem to be gathering.'”

She walked a few blocks down the street with her mom and sister and that’s when they encountered the larger herd. “We were met with a line of elk 10 yards in front of us. They were standing shoulder to shoulder across the entire street about 15 wide and 10 deep.

It was very intimidating so we immediately backed up around the corner and stood behind a parked car. A minute later, the elk all started walking towards us and gathered in the front yard as seen in the video.”

Gearhart is located on the Oregon coast, a mostly rural area, so elk sightings aren't unheard of. But judging by the tone of wonder in the bystanders' voices in the video, it was rare to see such a large herd congregate on a residential street.

Oregon has the fifth largest state elk population, with approximately 125,000 elk (Rocky Mountain at 65,000 and Roosevelt elk at 60,000). Elk are amazingly adaptable and can live almost anywhere—forests, deserts, mountains, and plains.


Elk play an important part in life cycle of the forest by clearing understory vegetation which makes way for other plant and animal species. Their natural predators include the gray wolf (which are making a comeback in northeastern Oregon but have been extirpated in western Oregon) and mountain lions, which usually thin herds by taking old and weak elk. It is estimated that nearly 10 million elk lived in North America prior to 1500 and were reduced to less than 100,000 by 1907. In fact the first name suggested for what is now Olympic National Park was Elk National Park, as it was intended to be a reserve for dwindling elk herds.

Currently habitat loss and fragmentation due to logging and road construction threaten these unique elk. Elk habitat is also being reduced by forest management practices that are keeping sunlight from reaching the forest floor and providing the vegetation they eat – such as clearcutting and replanting dense tree plantations. Creative forest management practices are needed to provide breaks in the canopy while maintaining old growth stands that will allow for vegetation that is essential to elk and many other species.
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What is pet insurance? Pet insurance is kind of like private health insurance. With some obvious differences. Pet insurance typically doesn’t cover routine veterinary care. However, there are some pet insurance providers who provide wellness policies such as incentives if you properly vaccinate your animal, use flea and heartworm preventatives or take the pet to the vet for check-ups. Pet insurance typically covers injuries, cancer, chronic conditions, emergency vet visits and in some cases, hereditary conditions you didn’t know your pet had.

What doesn’t pet insurance cover?

Pet insurance, like health insurance for humans, doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions. It alsotypically doesn’t cover breeding orpregnancy. Paralleling the human example, cosmetic procedures will only be covered if it’s considered medically necessary. This includes things for the human’s convenience like declawing of cats and anal gland expression. Hospitalisation of an injured pet is covered, but pet boarding is not. DNA testing to prove your puppies are thoroughbred or the other dog was pooping in the commons is done at your expense. Stem cell therapy is generally not covered, and neither will any advanced medical treatment. Pet insurance like other types of insurance doesn’t cover intentional damage. In the case of your pets, you are financially liable if you hurt your animal intentionally, whereas the insurance will apply if the dog was hit by a caraccidentally. Similarly, your dog’s injuries won’t be covered if you were engaged in illegal dog fighting, but your dog’s injuries are covered if the dog was attacked by another while just out for a walk.

When should you get pet insurance?

Because pre-existing conditions aren’t covered, you want to get pet insurance as soon as possible. Ideally, you’ll sign up for pet insurance when you first get your pet. You can get help selecting the right cover with iSelect. You can save money by signing up for pet insurance sooner rather than later, since premiums are based on the animal’s age and state of health.

How does pet insurance differ from human health insurance?

With pet insurance, you’ll typically have to pay out of pocket and then file for reimbursement with the insurer. However, pet insurance like our health insurance only provides coverage when you pay the premiums. Fail to pay the premiums, and you don’t have coverage.

How is pet insurance priced?

The greater the coverage, the greater the cost. If there’s no cap on claims or no limit on the number of claims you can file in a given year, your premiums will go up. You may pay less if you pay a single annual premium instead of monthly premiums.

Another rare white killer whale has been spotted in Nemuro Strait off Rausu in the northeastern part of Japan's northernmost prefecture after the same kind of orca was photographed there in May.

The mammal that was recently filmed is not believed to be the same one that was spotted in May as they have different dorsal fin shapes and body color.

The video was captured at around 2:30 p.m. on July 19 by a guide who was working on board the sightseeing boat Hamanasu about 8 kilometers off the coastline of Rausu, according to a staff member of the operating company. The white killer whale was seen with several common orcas close by the boat.

The animal was also photographed about 10 minutes later by Erika Oki, who was working as a guide on a Shiretoko Nature Cruise sightseeing boat about 7 kilometers northeast from Rausu Fishing Port. Oki confirmed a white killer whale was among a pod of about five regular orcas but the boat could only manage to get as close as about 300 meters from the animals as they were moving fast.

Nemuro Strait is located between the town of Rausu on the Shiretoko Peninsula, designated as a UNESCO World Natural Heritage site, and Kunashiri Island, one of the four disputed isles comprising the Northern Territories effectively controlled by Russia.

On May 16, scientists with the University Alliance for Hokkaido Orca Research Project (Uni-HORP) photographed a white killer whale among a pod of about 10 such creatures in the strait, more than 10 kilometers from Rausu. It is very rare to spot a white killer whale near Japan, according to the group.


Masato Hasegawa, a captain with Shiretoko Nature Cruise, said, "The white killer whale found on July 19 is grayish and its dorsal fin is not so large. It seems to be different from the one spotted on May 16."

 VIDEO

Wednesday

So you've heard of a blood moon, and maybe even a blue moon, but what about a black moon?

The phenomenon is occurring again in North America on July 31 -- the first one since 2016. The rest of the world will have to wait until August 30.

But, what does this even mean? Why is it important? Here's everything you need to know about this astronomical event.

Wait, what is black moon?

A black moon is basically the second new moon of the month, something that rarely occurs. It works similarly to a Leap Year. A lunar cycle typically takes about 29 days to complete, but our months are slightly longer. So sometimes, about every 32 months, we happen to get two full moons or two new moons. The second full moon in a month is called a blue moon, and the second new moon is called a black moon.

But a black moon also refers to a month where there are no new moons -- which is only possible in February because of its fewer days. This is less common than the other type of black moon, and occurs about once a decade.


What will I see during a black moon?

Honestly, probably nothing.

A black moon is really just a new moon, the only real significance is that it's the second one. So you won't even see the moon, because it will blend in with the sky. The moon is also going to be a supermoon, meaning the moon will appear bigger than usual because it's closer to the Earth, but because it's a new moon you still won't be able to really see it.

If you wanted this experience to sound even cooler, you could call it a "black super new moon." But a darker sky does make for better stargazing, and as luck would have it, the Milky Way is best seen in late summer. So if you can get yourself away from the city and its light pollution, you'll be in luck.
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