• The full Sturgeon Moon will reach peak illumination on Monday at 11:59 a.m. EDT
  • Its name is adopted from the full Moon names during Native American and Colonial times
  • The freshwater fish the full Moon is named after is now considered endangered

August's full Moon will reach peak illumination Monday, Aug. 3. This month's full Moon is named after the largest freshwater fish in North America: the sturgeon.

Each month, the Moon goes full only for a few moments but, here on Earth, it appears full for several days. This August, although the Moon began appearing full during the weekend, it will reach its peak illumination Monday, Aug. 3, at 11:59 a.m. EDT.

Those who still haven't gotten a chance to catch a glimpse of the full Moon still have a chance as NASA notes that the Moon will appear full until early Wednesday morning. One only has to look toward the southeast after sunset to watch the full Sturgeon Moon rise. Sky watchers may also catch a glimpse of Saturn and Jupiter, as both will also appear in the southeast, with the former being 18 degrees above the horizon and the latter being 19 degrees above the horizon.

The full Moon is named Sturgeon because this is said to be around the time of the summer when the giant sturgeons in the Great Lakes and other locations tend to be more easily caught. As The Old Farmer's Almanac explains, these full moon names were used during the Native American and Colonial times to help keep track of the seasons. Usually, these names were used by the Algonquin people.

full moon
An image of one full side of the moon. NASA

Perhaps the August full Moon is an excellent opportunity to spread awareness about its namesake, as the ancient creatures, once great in number, are now considered endangered.

Sturgeons belong to a family of fish that have existed for over 135 million years. They are massive fish that can grow to be over two meters long and, live for many years. Male sturgeons can live for 55 years while the females can live for much longer at 150 years.

Unfortunately, although sturgeons once had a widespread presence in many North American lakes and rivers, they are now considered one of the rarest fish in North America, mainly due to threats including habitat loss, pollution and overfishing.