The Full MoonEvery 29-30 days, Earth is positioned in between the Sun and the Moon. This causes the Moon to be visible from Earth as a complete disc. When the Moon is in this phase, it is called a Full Moon. A Full Moon on a clear night is a beautiful natural sight; the reflected light being bright enough to cast shadows on Earth.
|January||Wolf Moon or Old Moon|
|February||Snow Moon or Hunger Moon|
|March||Sap Moon, Crow Moon or Lenten Moon|
|April||Grass Moon or Egg Moon|
|May||Milk Moon or Planting Moon|
|June||Rose Moon, Flower Moon or Strawberry Moon|
|July||Thunder Moon or Hay Moon|
|August||Grain Moon or Green Corn Moon|
|September||Fruit Moon or Harvest Moon|
|October||Harvest Moon or Hunter's Moon|
|November||Hunter's Moon, Frosty Moon or Beaver Moon|
|December||Moon before Yule or Long Night Moon|
The Full Moon has a different name for each month of the year as shown in the table to the left. The modern calendar is based on the Earth's orbit of the Sun and the Moon's orbit of Earth. A year is the length of time it takes Earth to complete an orbit of the Sun. One year is split into 12 months, and these months are loosely based on the length of time it takes for the Moon to complete a full orbit of Earth. The word "month" actually comes from the word "moon" (a "moonth"). People thousands of years ago used the objects in the sky - the Sun, the Moon and the stars - to let them know what time of year it was (and the Moon's phases to let them know what time of the month it was). The name given to each Full Moon is therefore linked to something that would be happening at that time of the year. It is usually snowy when there is a Snow Moon, planting season when there is a Planting Moon and time to harvest when there is a Harvest Moon. Because most months are 30 or 31 days long, and a Full Moon comes around every 29.5 days, if a Full Moon falls on the 1st of a month, there will be another Full Moon later that month. Some people know this second Full Moon as a Blue Moon. Most seasons, being 3 months long, have 3 Full Moons in them. However, due to a month being longer than a complete cycle of the Moon, sometimes there are four Full Moons in a season. In this instance, the third Full Moon in a season of four Full Moons is sometimes known as a Blue Moon! Confused?!!
For most people, the Moon is purely the most prominent and familiar object in the night sky. However, for some people, the Moon is much more sinister. It is believed that a Full Moon has strange effects on people and animals. The word "lunatic" comes from the Greek word for the Moon (Luna), suggesting that a lunatic is somebody that has been sent mad by the Moon. There are even people who fear the Moon, suffering from a phobia called Selenophobia. They simply can't bear to look at the Moon and doing so makes them feel ill. This phobia feels worse when the Moon is full. Animals are said to behave strangely when there is a Full Moon, feeling agitated and nervous. And, of course, there are werewolves! Well, there aren't really werewolves but legend has always associated a Full Moon with the presence of werewolves. Some police forces report an increase in crime on nights when there is a Full Moon, but there is no real scientific evidence that "moon madness" actually exists. Some people may have a negative feeling about the Moon simply because it is the natural opposite of the Sun - the Sun provides heat and light and naturally cheers people. The Moon is visible when the Sun is not, and when this happens, it is usually cold and dark, things that people don't like.
Below is a list of dates of Full Moons between 2008 and 2012. If it's a clear night, get a pair of binoculars and have a look at it. You will be able to make out the higher plains and lower seas ("maria") and even some of the larger impact craters!
|22nd January||11th January||30th January||19th January||9th January|
|21st February||9th February||28th February||18th February||7th February|
|21st March||11th March||30th March||19th March||8th March|
|20th April||9th April||28th April||18th April||6th April|
|20th May||9th May||27th May||17th May||6th May|
|18th June||7th June||26th June||15th June||4th June|
|18th July||7th July||26th July||15th July||3rd July|
|16th August||6th August||24th August||13th August||2nd August|
|15th September||4th September||23rd September||12th September||31st August|
|14th October||4th October||23rd October||12th October||30th September|
|13th November||2nd November||21st November||10th November||29th October|
|12th December||2nd December||21st December||10th December||28th November|
|31st December||28th December|