Full Moon Rising...

Full Wolf Moon Rising
                                 Photo by Dean Solomon

Current Phase of the Moon:

Courtesy of the U.S. Naval Observatory

 

Full Moon Calendar 2015

Full Moon

Date

Day

Wolf Moon

Jan 5

Mon

Snow Moon

Feb 3

Tue

Worm Moon

Mar 5

Thu

Pink Moon

Apr 4

Sat

Flower Moon

May 4

Mon

Strawberry Moon

Jun 2

Tue

Buck Moon

Jul 2

Thu

Blue Moon

Jul 31

Fri

Sturgeon Moon

Aug 29

Sat

Harvest Moon

Sep 28

Mon

Hunters Moon

Oct 27

Tue

Beaver Moon

Nov 25

Wed

Cold Moon

Dec 25

Fri

 

 

 

Full Moons And Their Meanings
 

Full Moon names date back to Native Americans, of what is now the northern and eastern United States. The tribes kept track of the seasons by giving distinctive names to each recurring full Moon. Their names were applied to the entire month in which each occurred. There was some variation in the Moon names, but in general the same ones were current throughout the Algonquin tribes from New England to Lake Superior. European settlers followed that custom and created some of their own names. Since the lunar month is only 29 days long on the average, the full Moon dates shift from year to year. Here is a listing of the full Moon names:

Full Wolf Moon Amid the cold and deep snows of midwinter, the wolf packs howled hungrily outside Indian villages. Thus, the name for January's full Moon. Sometimes it was also referred to as the Old Moon, or the Moon After Yule. Some called it the Full Snow Moon, but most tribes applied that name to the next Moon.

Full Snow Moon Since the heaviest snow usually falls during this month, native tribes of the north and east most often called February's full Moon the Full Snow Moon. Some tribes also referred to this Moon as the Full Hunger Moon, since harsh weather conditions in their areas made hunting very difficult.

Full Worm Moon As the temperature begins to warm and the ground begins to thaw, earthworm casts appear, heralding the return of the robins. The more northern tribes knew this Moon as the Full Crow Moon, when the cawing of crows signaled the end of winter; or the Full Crust Moon, because the snow cover becomes crusted from thawing by day and freezing at night. The Full Sap Moon, marking the time of tapping maple trees, is another variation. To the settlers, it was also known as the Lenten Moon, and was considered to be the last full Moon of winter.

Full Pink Moon This name came from the herb moss pink, or wild ground phlox, which is one of the earliest widespread flowers of the spring. Other names for this month's celestial body include the Full Sprouting Grass Moon, the Egg Moon, and among coastal tribes the Full Fish Moon, because this was the time that the shad swam upstream to spawn.

Full Flower Moon In most areas, flowers are abundant everywhere during this time. Thus, the name of this Moon. Other names include the Full Corn Planting Moon, or the Milk Moon.

Full Strawberry Moon This name was universal to every Algonquin tribe. However, in Europe they called it the Rose Moon.

The Full Buck Moon July is normally the month when the new antlers of buck deer push out of their foreheads in coatings of velvety fur. It was also often called the Full Thunder Moon, for the reason that thunderstorms are most frequent during this time. Another name for this month's Moon was the Full Hay Moon.

Full Sturgeon Moon The fishing tribes are given credit for the naming of this Moon, since sturgeon, a large fish of the Great Lakes and other major bodies of water, were most readily caught during this month. A few tribes knew it as the Full Red Moon because, as the Moon rises, it appears reddish through any sultry haze. It was also called the Green Corn Moon or Grain Moon.

Full Fruit or Barley Moon The names Fruit and Barley were reserved only for those years when the Harvest Moon is very late in September.

Full Harvest Moon This is the full Moon that occurs closest to the autumn equinox. In two years out of three, the Harvest Moon comes in September, but in some years it occurs in October. At the peak of harvest, farmers can work late into the night by the light of this Moon. Usually the full Moon rises an average of 50 minutes later each night, but for the few nights around the Harvest Moon, the Moon seems to rise at nearly the same time each night: just 25 to 30 minutes later across the U.S., and only 10 to 20 minutes later for much of Canada and Europe. Corn, pumpkins, squash, beans, and wild rice the chief Indian staples are now ready for gathering.

Full Hunter's Moon With the leaves falling and the deer fattened, it is time to hunt. Since the fields have been reaped, hunters can easily see fox and the animals which have come out to glean.

Full Beaver Moon This was the time to set beaver traps before the swamps froze, to ensure a supply of warm winter furs. Another interpretation suggests that the name Full Beaver Moon comes from the fact that the beavers are now actively preparing for winter. It is sometimes also referred to as the Frosty Moon.

The Full Cold Moon; or The Full Long Nights Moon During this month the winter cold fastens its grip, and nights are at their longest and darkest. It is also sometimes called the Moon before Yule. The term Long Night Moon is a doubly appropriate name because the midwinter night is indeed long, and because the Moon is above the horizon for a long time. The midwinter full Moon has a high trajectory across the sky because it is opposite a low Sun.

 

Harvest moon: The full moon nearest the autumnal equinox (about September 23). Near the time of the autumnal equinox, the angle of the moon's orbit relative to the Earth's horizon is at its minimum, causing the full moon to rise above the horizon much faster than usual. Since the difference of the moon's rising time on successive nights barely varies, the moon appears to rise at nearly the same hour for several nights in succession. Because the harvest moon, like any full moon, must rise near the hour of sunset, harvest workers in the Northern Hemisphere may be aided by bright moonlight after sunset on several successive evenings. A similar effect is observed in corresponding southern latitudes around March 21.

 

Moon Facts

Moon is Earth's only natural satellite and the only astronomical body other than Earth ever visited by human beings. The moon is the brightest object in the night sky but gives off no light of its own. Instead, it reflects light from the sun. Like Earth and the rest of the solar system, the moon is about 4.6 billion years old.

The moon is much smaller than Earth. The moon's average radius (distance from its center to its surface) is 1,079.6 miles (1,737.4 kilometers), about 27 percent of the radius of Earth.

The moon is also much less massive than Earth. The moon has a mass (amount of matter) of 8.10 × 1019 tons (7.35 × 1019 metric tons). Its mass in metric tons would be written out as 735 followed by 17 zeroes. Earth is about 81 times that massive. The moon's density (mass divided by volume) is about 3.34 grams per cubic centimeter, roughly 60 percent of Earth's density.

Because the moon has less mass than Earth, the force due to gravity at the lunar surface is only about 1/6 of that on Earth. Thus, a person standing on the moon would feel as if his or her weight had decreased by 5/6. And if that person dropped a rock, the rock would fall to the surface much more slowly than the same rock would fall to Earth.

Despite the moon's relatively weak gravitational force, the moon is close enough to Earth to produce tides in Earth's waters. The average distance from the center of Earth to the center of the moon is 238,897 miles (384,467 kilometers). That distance is growing—but extremely slowly. The moon is moving away from Earth at a speed of about 1 1/2 inches (3.8 centimeters) per year.

The temperature at the lunar equator ranges from extremely low to extremely high—from about –280 °F (–173 °C) at night to +260 °F (+127 °C) in the daytime. In some deep craters near the moon's poles, the temperature is always near –400 °F (–240 °C).

The moon has no life of any kind. Compared with Earth, it has changed little over billions of years. On the moon, the sky is black—even during the day—and the stars are always visible.

A person on Earth looking at the moon with the unaided eye can see light and dark areas on the lunar surface. The light areas are rugged, cratered highlands known as terrae «TEHR ee». The word terrae is Latin for lands. The highlands are the original crust of the moon, shattered and fragmented by the impact of meteoroids, asteroids, and comets. Many craters in the terrae exceed 25 miles (40 kilometers) in diameter. The largest is the South Pole-Aitken Basin, which is 1,550 miles (2,500 kilometers) in diameter.

The dark areas on the moon are known as maria «MAHR ee uh». The word maria is Latin for seas; its singular is mare «MAHR ee». The term comes from the smoothness of the dark areas and their resemblance to bodies of water. The maria are cratered landscapes that were partly flooded by lava when volcanoes erupted. The lava then froze, forming rock. Since that time, meteoroid impacts have created craters in the maria.

The moon has no substantial atmosphere, but small amounts of certain gases are present above the lunar surface. People sometimes refer to those gases as the lunar atmosphere. This "atmosphere" can also be called an exosphere, defined as a tenuous (low-density) zone of particles surrounding an airless body. Mercury and some asteroids also have an exosphere.

In 1959, scientists began to explore the moon with robot spacecraft. In that year, the Soviet Union sent a spacecraft called Luna 3 around the side of the moon that faces away from Earth. Luna 3 took the first photographs of that side of the moon. The word luna is Latin for moon.

On July 20 , 1969, the U.S. Apollo 11 lunar module landed on the moon in the first of six Apollo landings. Astronaut Neil A. Armstrong became the first human being to set foot on the moon.

In the 1990's, two U.S. robot space probes, Clementine and Lunar Prospector, detected evidence of frozen water at both of the moon's poles. The ice came from comets that hit the moon over the last 2 billion to 3 billion years. The ice apparently has lasted in areas that are always in the shadows of crater rims. Because the ice is in the shade, where the temperature is about –400 °F (–240 °C), it has not melted and evaporated.

 

The moon's surface shows striking contrasts of light and dark. The light areas are rugged highlands. The dark zones were partly flooded by lava when volcanoes erupted billions of years ago. The lava froze to form smooth rock.

View of the Earth and Moon from space.

 

The first people on the moon were U.S. astronauts Neil A. Armstrong, who took this picture, and Buzz Aldrin, who is pictured next to a seismograph. A television camera and a United States flag are in the background. Their lunar module, Eagle, stands at the right.                                            NASA

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