Some sky sites say September’s full moon appears on the 28th of the month. Others say look for it on the 29th. They are both right. The crest of the full moon is 4:57 a.m. CDT on Sept. 29. But you will see the full moon which is another of this year’s supermoons, at sunset on Sept. 28. I like EarthSky for this information.
Followers of Travel Smart know that full moons have different names. Some relate to the season’s weather or crops while others connect to Native American, Celtic and other cultures.
Not surprisingly, September 2023 is the Harvest Moon because it is the full moon closest to the fall equinox, Sept. 23. It is also called the corn moon.
Unless the weather interfers, it will be easy to see. Its larger than usual size and brightness has to do with its closeness to earth and not anything extra.
If you like finding planets in relations to the moon, look for Saturn an hour earlier. It will be moving through the sky ahead of the full moon. Jupiter will be tagging along after the moon.
When do you think summer starts? Is it when school ends or weather turns warm enough to swim outdoors? Or it could be when your local meteorologist announces astronomical summer.
In the Northern Hemisphere the Summer (June) Solstice is June 21 in the year 2023.
Take advantage of the June Solstice, also called the Summer Solstice. It is the longest day and shortest night and this year. So, there is more daylight to work in the yard, take long walks, eat dinner out on the patio or just enjoy summer. Just remember to use sunscreen.
For its meaning, think Latin sol for sun and sistere for standing still. IKt certainly stands still in the Arctic Circle which won’t get dark because the sun won’t set there. Think Midnight Sun.
Earth/Sky, The Farmer’s Almanac and Space explain the long day relates to the sun’s angle to the Equator and is the farthest north of the horizon in the Northern Hemisphere.
NASA explains the long day is due to the tilt of the Earth and has a graphic showing the angle.
Of course, such a momentous time of year has related folklore. Most of those events come under the title Midsummer.
That may sound as a misnomer, but the June Solstice marking the beginning of the season is a starting point that is usually marked a few days later with Midsummer celebrations. It’s when many northern cultures such as Sweden, Finland and Ireland historically celebrated the time with rituals, visits to Stonehenge, and religious occasions.
Maybe hold your own Midsummer celebration. Check Travel Sweden for how they do it and their Midsummer dates.
If it felt as if you left a light on all night Sunday April 2, it’s because our April moon begins to look full even a couple of days ahead of April 5 when it is at full illumination at 11:34 p.m. DCT. It will also appear full a couple of days afterwards.
To catch it for an early evening photo look east after sunset. If still up around midnight, look overhead. A good reference is at EarthSky. Just remember we’re after the equinox so expect sunset later each day.
The April full moon’s nickname is Pink Moon for flowering blooms but it is also called Egg Moon, Paschal and Passover Moon and even the sprouting Grass Moon. For more names and information on full moons visit Space and Solarsystem NASA.
Related: Planet Parade plus Pink Moon.
However, April’s sky watch isn’t over. The Lyrids Meteor Shower is April 15 through April 29 so more on the Lyrids next week.
By now you probably heard that the Northern Hemisphere’s Winter Solstice of Dec. 21, 2022, will be making itself known Wednesday followed on Dec. 22-23 by very cold temps, blowing winds and more snow than folks need for a white Christmas.
So, it might be challenging to see the Urid meteors flying across the sky when they peak in the very early hours Thursday and Friday. The good news is that the moon is in its darkest waning crescent phase with very little illumination and becomes a new moon with no illumination Dec. 23.
The Urids are so named because they seem to radiate from the constellation Ursa Minor (the Little Dipper). Their parent is the 8P/Tuttle comet. They started Dec. 13 and continue through Dec. 24.
Producing only five to 10 meteors an hour, the Urids are a comparatively minor meteor shower but it’s always fun to “catch” a meteor.
You don’t have to call a government agency or a news station if you see a fireball overhead. It’s not a trick. It’s a treat. The Taurid meteors are charging across the sky.
However, you might want to notify the American Meteor Society because that organization does keep track of fireball sightings and does want to hear about them.
Indeed, a sighting is likely in 2022 because AMS says the Taurids last great meteor production was in 2015. Taurids’ history has shown that its abundant output tends to happen every seven years.
BTW, other years it’s not so great. So, the time span might be why you hadn’t heard about the Taurids before.
The meteors seem to emanate from constellation Taurus the Bull (its radiant) in two streams, the North and South Taurids. In 2022, South peaks Nov. 4-5 with North peaking Nov. 11-13. Taurus the Bull is near the constellation Orion.
A better watching is arguably period now through Halloween and Day of the Dead. The moon cycle reaches its full stage Nov. 8 so its growing illumination period may make it harder to catch a fireball on Nov. 5. But fireballs, like their name, are bright, so maybe try the peak date.
The Taurids already started Sept. 10 and continue through Nov. 20, 2022. As with most other meteor events, they happen when Earth passes through a stream of cometary debris. With the Taurids that is what Comet 2P-Encke, the parent comet, leaves behind, according to NASA.
NASA notes that unlike many comets, 2P-Encke is not named for its discoverer, Pierre F. A. Mechain, but for Johann Franz Encke who calculated its orbit. The letter P means it is a periodic comet.
Whatever dates you venture out to see a Taurid meteor, the best time is after midnight when the radiant is high. But dress warmly and be prepared to wait. Best watching technique is to scan the skies instead of focusing on the Taurus radiant.
Don’t be surprised if a bright light wakes you this weekend. The December full moon rises very high in the sky opposite the sun at 10:36 p.m. CST Dec. 18, 2021. But the shining orb looks full and bright Friday through Monday.
In the eastern part of the northern hemisphere the high moon hour is close enough to midnight to be considered a Sunday full moon. Click Moonrise Calculator for time in your area. You can watch for the full moon just before sunset.
The December full moon has several nicknames such as the Long Night Moon and Full Cold Moon because it comes closest to the Winter Solstice (Dec. 21,2021). It marks the start of winter and is the date with the longest period of darkness. The December full moon also has a very high trajectory so it will be in the sky longer.
Other names are the Yule Moon, Winter Moon, Frost Moon and Oak Moon.
Put August 11 on your calendar to watch the night sky. The best meteor shower of the year, the Perseids, will be entertaining night sky watchers with at least 40 fireballs an hour when they peak next week. However, they have been known to rack up as many as 100 meteors per hour.
As debris from comet Swift-Tuttle, the Perseid Meteor Shower occurs annually when earth’s orbit takes it near the comet’s path from the end of July to mid-August. The meteors are already zooming across the sky but in 2021 the peak is Aug. 11-13.
If you like company or have trouble seeing them, tune into NASA which has invited everyone to watch with them. Watch time is Aug. 11-12 from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. CDT on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
If weather is a problem, there is likely to be a second chance Aug. 12-13. The livestream is hosted by the Meteoroid Environment Office at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center.
A crescent moon will be setting early so moonlight shouldn’t be a factor. Watch between midnight and dawn away from city lights. Some folks stretch out on blankets but if the ground is dewy damp pull out a lawn chair.
Don’t worry if you don’t see any meteors right away. It takes a few minutes to adapt to the night sky. The meteor shower radiant appears to be above Perseus.
Forget about turning off the light that may be keeping you up on April 26-27. It’s streaming in through the windows from upstairs, outside. However, the source will have seemed larger earlier in the evening.
What’s shining through the windows if the sky is clear, is not merely a full moon. The orb outside is a Supermoon. It really isn’t larger. It just plays tricks on the eyes and perspective as it appears huge when first appearing at the horizon and in early evening.
The April full moon, also known as the “Pink Moon” is a Supermoon because it will be closer to Earth than most other full moons. The exception being the full moon in May 26, called the “Flower Moon” that will be even closer.
Some astronomy sites only designate the April and May full moons as Supermoons. Other sites include June 24’s which is also close. Still other sites include the March full moon which was fairly close.
For times to watch or photograph the moon check. EarthSky. The site also has the April, May June, 2021 Supermoons’ distances from the moon to Earth with April 27 at 222,212 miles (357,615 km), May 26 at 222,089 miles (357,462km) and June 24 at 224,662 miles (361,558 km).
If interested in how this all happens, you should know about the lunar perigee. It’s when the moon’s orbit brings it to its closest point to Earth. The opposite is apogee.
Of course, the third factor is where the earth is in relation to the moon and the sun to be a full moon. So, the April Supermoon actually happens about 12 hours short of it lunar perigee and May’s Supermoon falls about nine hours after perigee. The reason some sites refer just to April and May’s full moons as Supermoons is because less than 24 hours occur between the perigee and full moon phase.
Next, don’t be surprised if bothered with sinus trouble and have a full-moon sized headache. Because the pull of the full moon, particuclarly the Supermoon, does influence the tides, lore has it that their affect on humans and animals can also be felt.
If the light of the moon was keeping you up last night it’s because the first full moon of spring is March 28 but looks full March 27 and March 29.
And because this spring (Northern Hemisphere) full moon is closer to earth than the ones in January and February it appears brighter and is considered by some sky watchers as a “Supermoon.”
Actually, its perigee (closest part of its orbit) is March 30 so it still will continue to appear very bright and mostly full.
Don’t worry if your area is cloudy. The full moons in April, May and June will be even closer and will look like Supermoons.
Called the Worm Moon, Crow Moon or Sap Moon by some native American tribes, this full moon also sets Easter, which, in 2021, is April 4. See Tonight | EarthSky
Fun Fact:Do you know what syzygy means? It’s when three bodies, such as the Sun, Earth, and the Moon, are in alignment. See Time and Date for the term and alignment.
Time and Date also does an excellent job of explaining how long the moon really is fully illuminated and why due to the earth’s tilt it may not appear at total illumination, noting that the degree of illumination somewhat blends what appears to be a Full Moon and the last stage of a Waxing Gibbous Moon or the beginning of a Waning Gibbous Moon.
On NASA’s site a sidebar tells that the term “supermoon” was “coined by the astrologer Richard Nolle in 1979 and refers to either a new or full Moon that occurs when the Moon is within 90% of perigee, its closest approach to Earth.’
The site also connects the first spring moon’s names from native Americans and different religions. It notes that this weekend’s Full moon is also called the Pesach moon on the Jewish calendar, Paschal moon for Western Christianity and Medin in SRI Lanka.
For more word definitions and moon phases visit Space.
According to several astronomy sources it was northeastern native Americans who dubbed February’s full moon the Snow Moon.
Given the amount of snow that covered much of the United States in February, the moon is well named. It’s also called the Storm Moon and Hunger Moon.
That orb will be lighting up the landscape Thursday, Friday and Saturday but best time to view will be Friday night from when it appears above the horizon in the east as the sun sets to midnight when it is overhead.
Some studies mentioned by EarthSky have been done on the relationship of full moons to sleeplessness from the light point of view. Hopefully, scientists will also look at the tidal pull of full moons on sinuses.