One of the pleasures of outfitting your yard with cedar decking material, Portland homeowners will tell you, is that cedar decking provides a place for your family to appreciate nature. But you don’t have to limit yourself to daytime enjoyment of your cedar deck – Vancouver and Portland residents can enjoy the nighttime thrills of the summer sky by following the astronomy calendar listed below. Why not invite a few friends, set out a few refreshments, and enjoy the show as a group on your cedar decking?
July 15: Full Moon.
Native Americans called the July full moon the Fully Buck Moon because this was the time of year when the male buck deer would begin to grow their new antlers. Other names for this moon include the Full Thunder Moon or the Full Hay Moon. Full moons are easy to appreciate from your cedar decking material – Portland and other city lights can’t compete with the moon.
July 28-29: Southern Delta Aquariids Meteor Shower.
Those in the southern hemisphere usually enjoy more of a show with the Delta Aquariids Meteor showers, but you might be able to catch a few of the 15-20 shooting stars this meteor shower brings every hour. Be on your cedar decking during the pre-dawn hours, and look toward the southern horizon, away from the city lights if possible.
August 11: Neptune at Opposition.
Get out a hefty telescope to see Neptune as it comes to its closest approach to earth. Neptune’s face will be fully illuminated by the sun, but because this distant planet is so far away, only the most powerful telescopes will be able to see anything besides a tiny blue dot. Instead of viewing Neptune from their cedar decking material, Portland homeowners might be better served by visiting OMSI or another planetarium with strong telescopes.
August 12-14: Perseids Meteor Shower.
This shower of meteors is even more spectacular than the Southern Delta Aquariids shower. The Perseids meteor shower has been known to produce upwards of 60 meteors per hour during its peak. The full moon on August 13 will make it harder to see this year’s Perseids shower, but you should still be able to see some of the brighter shooting stars – just look to the northeast after midnight.
August 13: Full Moon.
This full moon is known as the Green Corn Moon and the Grain Moon. The most interesting name for the August full moon comes from Native American tribes in the Great Lakes area; they called it the Full Sturgeon Moon because its light made it easier to catch sturgeon and other lake fish.
September 12: Full Moon.
Many consider this the last full moon of the summer, since the autumn equinox falls on Sept. 23. This full moon has several nicknames, including the Full Corn Moon and the Harvest Moon. Considering how drizzly our area gets over the winter, if Sept. 12 is a clear night, it would be a good chance to enjoy the last of the summer weather on your cedar deck, Vancouver residents.
As you plan your summer of celestial delights, keep in mind that optimal viewing of all but the most obvious astronomical events occurs away from city lights. If you can get away to your cabin in the woods, the cedar decking there would probably be a better place to see the meteor showers, for instance, than your backyard in Portland or Vancouver.
[ photo by: jason.kaechler ]