A Summer Night’s Walk ‘Neath the Full Sturgeon Moon

by Sid Baglini

Monday, July 31, 2023, 8:30 P.M.

The rising of the Moon is again going to dictate a shift in the night we walk under its light. The next full Moon Is actually August 1st but it won’t make an appearance until after 9:30. We wouldn’t finish our walk until about 10:30 which would test the participation of even our most devoted Moonatics. Even though we may choose to walk under the Moon on the last day of July, it does not change the fact that there are two Full Moons in August this year, and that means we can look forward to a Blue Moon at the end of the month.

This is the Sturgeon Full Moon, named for the large freshwater fish which historically numbered 350,000 individuals in the Delaware River. Sadly, despite the removal of dams on tributaries to facilitate spawning and the overall improvement of water quality, the population in a study done in 2022 appears to be just 250 sturgeon. This massive fish can be up to 14 feet long, weigh in at 1,000 pounds and live 75 years. It was overfished in the late 19th-early 20th century as a source of caviar. The female does not lay eggs until she is 20 years old.

This is also a Full Moon that had indigenous people and colonial farmers thinking of the harvest. They named it the Full Green Corn Moon, The Grain Moon, the Wheat Cut Moon, the Blueberry Moon and the Moon When All Things Ripen. My blueberry stained fingertips attest to my daily foray into the field to harvest, and a stop at the Malvern Farmers Market this Saturday (9:00-1:00) in Burke Park will amaze you with the selection of freshly picked veggies and fruits.

Our walk this month coincides with three meteor showers. Two of them (Southern delta Aquarids and alpha Capricornids) peak on the nights of July 30th and 31st, but the former is more visible in the southern hemisphere and the latter only displays about 5 meteors an hour. The third, The Perseids, is active from July 14th until September 1st. While it peaks on August 12th and 13th, the chance of seeing a meteor while we walk is best with this shower. Of course, the light of the Full Moon will make meteor viewing more difficult, so mark your calendars for the peak dates when there will be very little light emanating from an almost New Moon.

We hope you will join us for a summer night’s walk through Malvern. We’ll be listening for the sound of nighttime insects that tend to strike up a chorus this time of year, and we’ll share some fun facts as we stroll. We meet behind the Borough Hall, so please park along either 1st Avenue by the Library or on Channing. The Baptist Church parking lot is no longer available for public parking.

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