A new calendar year is upon us, and sky gazers are getting ready to howl at the year’s first Full Moon.
On January 17, the first Full Moon of 2022 will shine bright in the night sky as Earth is wedged between the Sun and its natural satellite. The Moon will stay fully illuminated for about three days, with a bright star from the Gemini Constellation appearing by its side.
What is the Wolf Moon?
January’s Full Moon is known as the Wolf Moon, as well as the Center Moon, Cold Moon, or Spirit Moon.
Full Moon names were passed down from Native American tribes who gave each month’s Full Moon its unique name based on the season. Around this time in January, wolves are believed to have been heard howling through the night.
January’s Full Moon is also referred to as the Center Moon as it marks the middle of the cold winter season, and the cold temperatures of the month also gave the Moon the following names:
- Frost Exploding Moon
- Freeze Up Moon
- Severe Moon
January’s Full Moon is also called Spirit Moon, and many attach a spiritual meaning to the year’s first Full Moon as it marks a time when many set their goals and intentions for the upcoming year ahead.
How to see January’s Full Wolf Moon
The year’s first Full Moon will rise at 4:47 p.m. Eastern, and peak at 6:48 p.m. Eastern on Monday night.
Although it won’t be at its peak brightness like it will on Monday, the Moon will appear full for about three days from Sunday evening through Wednesday morning.
In January, the Full Moon will appear near the bright star Pollux, the brighter star of the twin stars in the Gemini Constellation.
How much brighter is a Full Moon?
Over the course of its trip around Earth, which takes about 27 days, the Moon goes through eight different phases, and varying degrees of brightness, visibility, and size.
When it reaches the Full Moon, it appears enormous and super bright.
That’s because Earth is wedged between the Sun and the Moon at exactly opposite ends. As a result, the side of the Moon facing Earth becomes fully illuminated by the Sun’s beaming light.
The Moon becomes six times brighter when it’s full than a Half Moon. It shines at an average magnitude of -12.92 — making it the second brightest object in the sky except for the Sun, and far brighter than the brightest planet, Venus.
When is the next Full Moon?
The year 2022 will see 12 Full Moons, one for each month. Some years see 13 Full Moons since a lunar year is 354 days, or the time it takes the Moon to do 12 orbits around Earth.
This took place in 2020, with December seeing two Full Moons in one month.
The next full Moon of the year will be on February 16, 2022 at 11:59 A.M. Eastern. February’s Full Moon is known as the Snow Moon.