May 10, 2021

Weird Full Moon Names

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blue-moonThe Native Americans marked their calendars by full moons. Each one had its own name, and its own action.

You’ve probably heard of the Harvest Moon that graced the sky Friday (16) night, as it’s one of the more commonly heard names.

It’s the full moon that falls closest to the autumnal equinox in September (or October — the moon’s not always that precise).

But there are more names for full moons — a lot more, especially if you include contemporary and scientific names.

Here are 28 we found for full moons, starting with the one you could see September 16: the Harvest Moon.

A full moon, also a harvest moon, rises past thunder clouds near Encinitas, California September 8, 2014.REUTERS/Mike Blake

September: Harvest Moon, Corn Moon
A plane heading to Los Angeles International Airport crosses the Harvest Moon in Whittier on Thursday, Sept. 15, 2016.Nick Ut/AP

It’s time to finish harvesting the corn and other crops for the winter! Because this full moon rises with the setting sun, it looks larger than usual. These bright moonlit nights give farmers a little extra time to harvest their crops before the first day of fall on September 22.

As an extra treat for the Eastern Hemisphere, this full moon was a lunar eclipse, where the Earth’s shadow passed over the moon’s surface. It was the last eclipse for the year.

The next Harvest Moon: October 5, 2017

October: Hunter’s Moon
A man shoots at pheasants flying overhead during a pheasant hunt in Stokenchurch, southern England.Eddie KeogREUTERS
October is usually the best month to hunt, when the animals are fattened up for winter and you can see through the trees that have lost their leaves.

The next one: October 16, 2016

November: Beaver Moon, Frost Moon
Wikipedia
Frost blankets the ground and the beavers are preparing for winter. It was the best time to set the traps to catch them for food.

The next one: November 14, 2016 (which will also be the closest supermoon — more on this in a moment)

December: Cold Moon, Long Night’s Moon
The moon sets behind a mountain at sunrise in Lake Louise, Alberta on December 2, 2009.Andy ClarkREUTERS
December has the longest nights of the year, and it’s cold. These ones are pretty straightforward.

The next one: December 13, 2016

January: Wolf Moon, Old Moon
Wikimedia Commons
In January, wolf packs howl at the moon and apparently would gather hungrily around Native American villages.

The next one: January 12, 2017

February: Snow Moon, Hunger Moon
The full “Snow” moon rises above the Hudson River and the town of Irvington in Westchester County, New York on February 3, 2015.Mike Segar/REUTERS
February is in the depths of winter when snow blankets the ground and food is hard to come by. Because it’s a shorter month, some years February doesn’t have a full moon at all.

The next one: February 11, 2017

March: Worm Moon, Sap Moon, Crow Moon
Tammy Friesen/Flickr
March is the time when the worms come out of the ground, when you tap the maple trees for sap, and the crows’ cawing heralds the end of winter.

The next one: March 12, 2017

April: Pink Moon, Grass Moon, Fish Moon
Wikimedia Commons
The Pink Moon is named for the pink phlox flowers that are the first to bloom in the spring. The grass sprouts and the fish also come upstream to spawn.

The next one: April 11, 2017

May: Flower Moon, Planting Moon
A silhouetted airplane flies past a full moon over Istanbul, Turkey on May 5, 2015.Osman Orsal/REUTERS
The flowers bloom in May, and it’s also time to plant the crops.

The next one: May 10, 2017

June: Strawberry Moon, Rose Moon
AP Photo/Gerry Broome
June is when the strawberries are ripe, and the roses bloom.

The next one: June 9, 2017

July: Buck Moon, Thunder Moon, or Hay Moon
REUTERS/Toby Melville
Deer start to grow their antlers this month, and there are often lots of thunderstorms.

The next one: July 9, 2017

August: Sturgeon Moon, Red Moon
Wikimedia Commons
Tribes in the Great Lakes knew this was the best time to catch sturgeon, an ugly (but hearty) fish. Some people think the moon looks reddish this month in the heat.

The next one: August 7, 2017

Blue Moon
Wikimedia Commons
It doesn’t actually appear blue. A Blue Moon is just the name for the second full moon in a month or the fourth moon in a season.

The next one: January 31, 2018 (or May 18, 2019, depending on the definition you pick)

Supermoon
REUTERS/Paul Hanna
This is when the moon is closest to Earth, swinging into its elliptical orbit. Supermoons — technically called “perigee-syzygy of the Earth-Moon-Sun system,” can cause stronger ocean tides and weather events.

This year’s: October 16, 2016, November 14, 2016 (the closest supermoon since 1948), and December 13, 2016

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