The Full Moon happens once a month, when the Earth is between the Sun and the Moon. When this happens, the side of the moon that faces the Earth is completely lit by the Sun, and appears fully visible in the sky like a circular disk.
During a lunar cycle, the Full Moon is the third primary Moon phase, between the First Quarter and the Last Quarter. Each lunar cycle lasts for around 29.5 days, the time it takes for the Moon to orbit the Earth.
Because the moon is in constant movement, a Full Moon is only 100% illuminated for a short amount of time during the day and is only visible in some parts of the World. When we think we are seeing a complete Full Moon on the day that it happens, or even on the days before and after, in reality, it is only about 98% lit.
A Full Moon is visible in the sky from sunset until sunrise. However, in some parts of the world, there is a phenomenon called refraction, which causes the Sun and the Full Moon to be visible at the same time during the day.
When is the next Full Moon?
These are the Full Moon dates and times for 2021, in the United States (The times are in Eastern Time Zone).
- January 28 at 2:18 P.M.
- February 27 at 3:19 A.M.
- March 28 at 2:50 P.M.
- April 26 at 11:33 P.M.
- May 26 at 7:14 A.M.
- June 24 at 2:40 P.M.
- July 23 at 10:37 P.M.
- August 22 at 8:02 A.m.
- September 20 at 7:54 P.M.
- October 20 at 10:57 A.M.
- November 19 at 3:59 A.M.
- December 18 at 11:37 P.M.
Full Moon and Lunar Eclipses
A Lunar Eclipse can only occur during a Full Moon. This is because the Sun, Earth, and Moon are aligned, and when the Moon moves into the Earth's shadow it becomes obscured, thus causing a Lunar Eclipse.
There are only two or three Lunar Eclipses per year. The reason there isn't one every month is that usually, the Moon's orbit is at 5.14° towards the Earth, so it usually passes south or north of its shadow.
Influences of the Full Moon
The Moon has a gravitational pull on the Earth, which affects the sea tides. During a Full Moon, these gravitational forces pull the ocean's water in the same direction, which causes higher tides.
In some cultures and religions, the Full Moon has an influence over the dates of major events and celebrations. For example, in the Jewish religion, which uses the Hebrew Calendar, the dates of Passover are determined by the Full Moon. The same happens with the date of Easter in Christianity, which is only determined by the vernal equinox and the Full Moon.
Full Moon Names
Native Americans traditionally gave names to Full and New Moons, in order to keep track of the seasons. The names that are currently used come from this tradition, Colonial Americans, and other North American sources. Some of the names are interpretations of words used in the Native American languages.
|January||Wolf Moon - because wolves were heard howling during this time.|
|February||Snow Moon - because the snow would commonly fall during this period.|
|March||Worm Moon - referring to the earthworms that appear in the soil before Spring.|
|April||Pink Moon - announcing the appearance of moss pink, a Spring wildflower.|
|May||Flower Moon - as this is the period where most flowers bloom.|
|June||Strawberry Moon - because strawberry picking would happen at this time.|
|July||Buck Moon - during this period, the antlers of bucks are fully grown.|
|August||Sturgeon Moon - because of the sturgeon fish that were abundant in the lakes.|
|September||Corn Moon - because corn is ready to harvest during this period.|
|October||Hunter's Moon - this was the time for hunting for the Winter.|
|November||Beaver Moon - this was the time when beavers finished their preparations for Winter.|
|December||Cold Moon - because this is the month when Winter gets colder.|
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