When is the Next Full Moon? Full moon calendar 2023 | Full Moon Names | Tips

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Prepare to embark on an enthralling adventure into the enchanting realm of Full Moons. In this all-inclusive guide, we’ll reveal detailed information about the next Full Moon dates, the mesmerizing lunar phases, their compelling effects on our planet, explanations of their names and cultural significance and tips on how to best view and photograph the full moon. So, without further ado, let’s dive in and unravel the mysteries of the Moon and its phases.

Table of Contents

The 2023 Full Moon Calendar

Mark your calendar and plan your stargazing sessions as we unveil the Full Moon dates for 2023:

MonthFull Moon DateFull Moon Name
JanuaryJan 6Wolf Moon
FebruaryFeb 5Snow Moon
MarchMar 7Worm Moon
AprilApr 5Pink Moon
MayMay 5Flower Moon
JuneJun 3Strawberry Moon
JulyJul 3Buck Moon
AugustAug 1Sturgeon Moon
SeptemberAug 31Harvest Moon
OctoberSep 29Hunter’s Moon
NovemberNov 28Beaver Moon
DecemberDec 28Cold Moon

Exploring the Moon’s Phases: From New Moon to Full Moon

2023 Moon Phases – Northern Hemisphere | Credits: NASA

New Beginnings: The New Moon

The lunar cycle commences with the New Moon, a phase in which the Moon remains invisible from Earth. During this time, the Moon aligns with the Sun, and its dark side faces our planet.

Increasing Illumination: The Waxing Crescent

As the Moon journeys away from the Sun, it enters the Waxing Crescent phase. Gradually, the illuminated portion of the Moon visible from Earth increases, transforming from a slender crescent to a half-moon.

The Halfway Point: The First Quarter

Upon reaching the First Quarter phase, half of the lunar disk becomes illuminated. Also known as the “half moon,” this phase occurs when the Moon forms a 90-degree angle with Earth and the Sun.

Nearing the Climax: The Waxing Gibbous

In the Waxing Gibbous phase, more than half of the Moon’s surface lights up. As it approaches its full phase, its brightness continues to grow.

Waxing Gibbous
Waxing Gibbous

The Pinnacle: The Full Moon

The apex of the lunar cycle, with the entire face of the Moon illuminated. This phase takes place when the Moon positions itself directly opposite the Sun, with Earth in between.

Diminishing Light: The Waning Gibbous

Following the Full Moon phase, the Moon enters the Waning Gibbous phase. During this time, the illuminated portion of the Moon visible from Earth starts to shrink.

Another Halfway Mark: The Third Quarter

As the Moon reaches the Third Quarter phase, half of its disk becomes illuminated. Also referred to as the “last quarter” or “half moon,” this phase occurs when the Moon forms a 90-degree angle with Earth and the Sun.

The Cycle’s Conclusion: The Waning Crescent

During the Waning Crescent phase, the illuminated portion of the Moon visible from Earth decreases until the New Moon phase begins anew.

Animation showing progression of moon phases | Credits: Tom Ruen
Animation showing progression of moon phases | Credits: Tom Ruen

The Lunar Influence on Earth

Tides: The Moon’s Gravitational Power

The gravitational force of the Moon causes the rise and fall of ocean tides on Earth. High tides, known as “spring tides,” occur during the Full Moon and New Moon phases when the Sun, Earth, and Moon align.

Lunar gravity and bulges
High tides and low tides

Animal Behavior: Moonlit Nights

Various animal species experience the lunar phases’ influence. For instance, corals spawn during the Full Moon, and nocturnal animals tend to be more active during brighter moonlit nights.

Human Culture: Lunar Traditions and Superstitions

Throughout human history, the Moon has inspired numerous myths, legends, and cultural practices. Many ancient civilizations relied on the lunar calendar to track time, and some cultures continue to celebrate traditional festivals based on lunar cycles. The Full Moon has also been associated with diverse superstitions and beliefs, such as heightened emotions and increased fertility.

Wolves howling at the full moon
Wolves howling at the full moon

Full Moon Names: Cultural and Seasonal Significance

Each Full Moon bears a unique name that reflects its corresponding month’s cultural and seasonal importance. Native American tribes initially used these names, which were later adopted by European settlers.

Wolf Moon

January’s Full Moon, the Wolf Moon, is named after the howling wolves frequently heard during this chilly and snowy month.

Snow Moon

The Snow Moon in February earned its name due to the typically heavy snowfall experienced during this month.

Worm Moon

The Worm Moon in March symbolizes the emergence of earthworms, which attract birds and mark the beginning of spring.

Pink Moon

April’s Full Moon, known as the Pink Moon, is named after the blooming pink wildflowers, specifically the wild ground phlox.

Flower Moon

The Flower Moon in May celebrates the abundance of blossoming flowers that grace the landscape in spring.

Strawberry Moon

June’s Full Moon, the Strawberry Moon, commemorates the brief strawberry harvesting season that takes place during this month.

Buck Moon

The Buck Moon in July represents the time when new antlers begin to grow on male deer or bucks.

Sturgeon Moon

August’s Full Moon, the Sturgeon Moon, is named after the abundance of sturgeon fish caught during this month.

Harvest Moon

The Harvest Moon in September marks the time when farmers traditionally harvested their crops, using the bright moonlight to extend their working hours.

Hunter’s Moon

October’s Full Moon, the Hunter’s Moon, is named after the time when hunters would stock up on game to prepare for the winter months.

Beaver Moon

The Beaver Moon in November, signifies the time when beavers built their dams in anticipation of winter and when fur trappers would set traps for them.

Cold Moon

The Cold Moon in December is named after the frigid and snowy conditions typically experienced during this month.

Full Moon Viewing Tips: A Memorable Moonlit Experience

Selecting the Perfect Spot

First and foremost, scout for a location with minimal light pollution, such as a park or rural area, to ensure optimal visibility. This way, you’ll have a better chance of witnessing the Moon in all its glory.

Looking at the moon through a telescope
Looking at the moon through a telescope

Preparing for Clear Skies

Additionally, don’t forget to check the local weather forecast to ensure clear skies on the night of the Full Moon. After all, an unobstructed view is crucial to a successful stargazing session.

Comfort and Magnification

Equally important, bring along a blanket or chair for comfortable seating during your Moon-gazing adventure. Furthermore, consider using binoculars or a telescope to zoom in on the Moon’s surface features and fully appreciate its captivating details.

Timing Your Arrival

Moreover, keep track of the Moon’s rising time in your area, and make it a point to arrive at your chosen spot early. By doing so, you can settle in and enjoy the twilight before the Moon emerges, adding to the overall experience.

Preserving Your Night Vision

Lastly, remember to turn off any bright lights, such as flashlights or mobile phone screens, to preserve your night vision. This simple yet effective tip will maximize your Full Moon viewing experience, making it truly unforgettable.

Full Moon Photography: Tips for Picture-Perfect Shots

Essential Equipment

Firstly, gather the necessary tools for capturing the Full Moon’s splendor, such as a camera with manual settings, a sturdy tripod, and a telephoto lens. With these essentials, you’ll be well-prepared to snap stunning lunar images.

Woman 'holding' the moon photographed on a smartphone
Woman ‘holding’ the moon photographed on a smartphone

Optimal Camera Settings

Next, experiment with your camera’s settings to achieve the ideal shot. Typically, start with an aperture of f/11, a shutter speed of 1/125, and an ISO of 100. Then, adjust these settings as needed to accommodate the specific lighting conditions and your artistic vision.

Focusing and Exposure

Additionally, set your focus to infinity and utilize spot metering to ensure proper exposure. These techniques will help you capture the Moon’s intricate details without overexposing its surface.

Timing and Location

Furthermore, plan your photography session by considering the Moon’s rising time and position in the sky. By doing so, you can capture the Moon against a captivating backdrop, such as a city skyline or a picturesque landscape.

Embracing Creativity

Lastly, don’t hesitate to experiment with various compositions, angles, and camera settings. By embracing creativity and trying different approaches, you’ll increase your chances of capturing the Full Moon in all its awe-inspiring beauty.

Wrapping Up: Your Ultimate Full Moon Calendar Guide

Using a telescope to watch at the full moon
Using a telescope to watch at the full moon

Our all-inclusive next full Moon calendar guide offers a thorough exploration of the lunar phases, their impact on Earth, and the cultural significance of its names. With this knowledge at your fingertips, you can better appreciate the celestial spectacle of the Full Moon and its enthralling connections to the natural world and human culture. So, mark your calendar for the next Full Moon and enjoy the wonders of stargazing!

Moon Fact Sheet: A Quick Guide to Our Natural Satellite

General Information

  • Name: Moon
  • Type: Natural satellite
  • Diameter: 3,474 km (2,159 miles)
  • Mass: 7.35 x 10^22 kg
  • Distance from Earth: Approximately 384,400 km (238,855 miles)
  • Gravity: 1.62 m/s² (5.32 ft/s²) – about 1/6th of Earth’s gravity
  • Orbital period: 27.3 Earth days (sidereal month)
  • Rotational period: 27.3 Earth days (synchronous rotation)

Formation and Age

  • Age: Approximately 4.5 billion years old
  • Formation: The most widely accepted theory is the Giant Impact Hypothesis, which suggests that the Moon formed from the debris of a collision between a Mars-sized body called Theia and the early Earth.

Surface Features

  • Terrain: Consists of large plains, highlands, mountains, and impact craters
  • Highest point: Mons Huygens – 5,500 meters (18,000 feet) above the lunar surface
  • Largest impact basin: South Pole-Aitken Basin – 2,500 km (1,550 miles) in diameter and 13 km (8 miles) deep

Moon exploration

  • First human landing: Apollo 11 mission (July 20, 1969) – astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin
  • Total human landings: 6 Apollo missions (1969-1972)
  • Robotic missions: Various lunar orbiters, landers, and rovers, including Luna (USSR), Surveyor (USA), Chang’e (China), and Chandrayaan (India)

Unique Phenomena

  • Lunar phases: The changing appearance of the Moon as seen from Earth, including New Moon, Waxing Crescent, First Quarter, Waxing Gibbous, Full Moon, Waning Gibbous, Third Quarter, and Waning Crescent
  • Lunar eclipses: Occur when the Moon passes through Earth’s shadow, resulting in a reddish hue known as a “blood moon”
  • Tidal locking: The Moon’s rotation period matches its orbital period, causing the same side (the near side) to always face Earth