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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Full Moons of the New Year

Original caption from NASA: "S103-E-5037 ...Image via WikipediaThis post is based on Joe Rao's article (See below), which is well worth your time to read in full. Full moons have many names in different cultures. Some of the most poetic and evocative come from Native American names, based on agriculture and hunting. It can be difficult to find them all in one place, so thanks to Joe Rao for giving us this summary and article.

If you know of any others from different cultures please let us know in the Comments or via email and we will update them here.

Jan. 19, 11:21 p.m. IST – Full Wolf Moon/Old Moon/Moon after Yule. The wolves begin to howl.

Feb. 18, 10:36 a.m. IST – Full Snow Moon/Full Hunger Moon. Summer's grain is all gone.

Mar. 19, 9:10 p.m. IST – Full Worm Moon/Full Crow Moon/Full Sap Moon. Sap's a risin'.

The moon will also arrive at perigee only 50 minutes later at 11:00 p.m. IST at a distance of 221,565 miles (356,575 kilometers) from Earth. So this is the biggest full moon of 2011. Very high ocean tides can be expected during the next two or three days, thanks to the coincidence of perigee with full moon.

Apr. 18, 5:44 p.m. IDT – Paschal Full Moon/Full Pink Moon/Full Fish Moon/Egg Moon/Full Sprouting Grass Moon

In 2011, this is also the Paschal Full Moon; the first full moon of the spring season. The first Sunday following the Paschal Moon is Easter Sunday, which indeed will be observed one week later on Sunday, April 24. This, incidentally, is just one day shy of the latest date that Easter can fall. Not by coincidence, April 18th is also the first Seder night of Pesach/Passover. This is a leap year in the Jewish calendar with an extra month (Adar II) added. This is why Pesach, and with it Easter, are so late this year.

May 17, 2:09 p.m. IDT – Full Flower Moon/Full Corn Planting Moon/Milk Moon

Jun. 15, 11:14 p.m. IDT – Full Strawberry Moon/Rose Moon. "Pick ye strawberries while ye may..."

Jul. 15, 9:40 a.m. IDT – Full Buck Moon/Full Buck Moon/Full Hay Moon. Hunting season for Native Americans.

Aug. 13, 9:57 p.m. IDT – Full Sturgeon Moon/Full Red Moon/Green Corn Moon/Grain Moon. Summer haze turns the moon red near the horizon. Fish run upstream. Corn begins to ripen.

The occurrence of this full moon on this particular date is rather poor timing for those who enjoy the annual performance of the Perseid meteor shower; this display will peak on this very same day and the brilliant light of the moon will likely wash out all but the very brightest of these swift streaks of light.

Sep. 13, 12:27 a.m. IDT – Full Harvest Moon: Traditionally, this designation goes to the full moon that occurs closest to the autumnal (fall) equinox (September 21). The Harvest Moon usually comes in September in the Northern Hemisphere, but (on average) once or twice a decade it will fall in early October.

At the peak of the harvest, farmers can work into the night by the light of this moon. Usually the 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. If you come out with us on or near a full-moon night you will be amazed at how bright it is. That's why the Indians never attacked the fort during full moon.

Oct. 12, 4:06 p.m. IST – Full Hunters' Moon. Fall hunting season.

Since the moon arrives at apogee about 10 hours later, this will also be the smallest full moon of 2011. In terms of apparent size, it will appear 12.3 percent smaller than the full moon of Mar.19.

Nov. 10, 10:16 p.m. IST – Full Beaver Moon/Frosty Moon. Winter is a cumin' in.

Dec. 10, 4:36 p.m. IST – Full Cold Moon/Moon Before Yule/Full Long Nights Moon

Sometimes this moon is referred to as the Full Long Nights Moon, and the term "Long Night" Moon is a very appropriate name because the nights are now indeed long and the moon is above the horizon a long time. This particular full moon makes its highest arc across the sky because it's diametrically opposite to the low sun.

Keep on looking up!

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