June 16, 2024
1 Solar System Way, Planet Earth, USA
Astronomy

When to see the Full Moon and its phases

The Full Moon phenomenon arises when our planet, Earth, is precisely sandwiched between the Sun and the Moon. This alignment ensures that the entire side of the Moon facing us shines in the sunlight. Thanks to the Moon's orbit around the Earth, the angle of sunlight that hits the lunar surface and is reflected back to our planet changes. That creates different lunar phases.

We'll update this article several times a week with the latest moon rises and moon sets, the full moon calendar, and some of what you can see in the sky each week.

The Full Moon of May 2024 is the Flower Moon and will occur at 9:53 a.m. EDT on Thursday, May 23.

Here is the complete list of this year's Full Moons and their traditional names.

Full Moon Calendar of 2024 and names of each one

(all times Eastern)

  • January 25 – 12:54 pm – Wolf Moon
  • February 24 —7:30 am — Snow Moon
  • March 25 – 3 am – Worm Moon
  • April 23 – 7:49 pm – Pink Moon
  • Full Moon on May 23 – 9:53 am – Flower Moon 🌷
  • June 21 – 9:08 pm – Strawberry Moon
  • July 21 – 6:17 am – Buck Moon
  • August 19 – 2:26 pm – Sturgeon Moon
  • September 17 – 10:34 pm – Corn Moon
  • October 17 – 7:26 am – Hunter's Moon
  • November 15 – 4:28 pm – Beaver Moon
  • December 15 – 4:02 am – Cold Moon

The phases of the Moon in May 2024

The following images show the day to day. moon phases this month. The Full Moon for May is at 9:53 a.m. ET on Thursday, May 23 and is called the Flower Moon.

These images show the phases of the moon day by day this month.  The Full Moon for May is at 9:53 a.m. ET on Thursday, May 23 and is called the Flower Moon.

Moonrise and moonset times this week

The following is adapted from The Sky This Week article by Alison Klesman, which you can find here.

*Moonrise, moonset, moonrise and moonset times are given in local time from 40° N 90° W. Moon illumination occurs at 12 pm local time from the same location.

Sunday May 19

Sunrise: 5:41 a.m.
Sunset: 20:13
Moonrise: 16:36
Moonset: 3:37 a.m.
Moon phase: Growing gibbous (86%)

Monday, May 20

Sunrise: 5:40 a.m.
Sunset: 20:13
Moonrise: 17:38
Moonset: 3:57 a.m.
Moon phase: Growing gibbous (92%)

Tuesday, May 21

Sunrise: 5:40 a.m.
Sunset: 20:14
Moonrise: 18:42
Moonset: 4:19 a.m.
Moon phase: Growing gibbous (96%)

Wednesday May 22

Sunrise: 5:39 a.m.
Sunset: 20:15
Moonrise: 19:49
Moonset: 4:45 a.m.
Moon phase: Growing gibbous (99%)

Thursday May 23
The full moon occurs this morning at 9:53 amEDT. May's Full Moon is also called the Flower Moon, and you'll want to watch it later tonight, when our satellite passes just 0.4° north of the bright red giant Antares at 11 pm EDT. The event is easily visible in the eastern half of the US, although those further west may have to wait an hour or two for the pair to rise high enough in the sky to see it.

If the Moon is above your horizon at 11 pm EDT, look to the southwest to see it just below Antares, Scorpius's first magnitude alpha star. Furthermore, there is an advantage: a second occultation for parts of the US this week. Observers in the southeastern region of the country will now see the occult Moon Antares, passing in front of the star approximately between 9 pm and 10 pm EDT; again, check IOTA website for the event to see if your location is within the viewing area and find out when you will see the star disappear and reappear.

Antares is a red giant in the last stages of its life; Although it has increased in size, its temperature has dropped, giving the star its reddish hue. It is so bright and so red that it is often confused with our own Red Planet, Mars. If you want to compare the two, you'll have to wait several hours, until about 4:15 a.m. local summer time tomorrow morning; that's when Mars will rise more than 5° above the eastern horizon and you'll be able to see if you think it's Brightness and hue match that of Antares, now in the southwest and very far from the Moon!

Sunrise: 5:38 am
Sunset: 20:16
Moonrise: 20:57
Moonset: 5:18 am
Moon phase: Full

Friday May 24

Sunrise: 5:37 a.m.
Sunset: 20:17
Moonrise: 22:03
Moonset: 5:58 am
Moon phase: Waning gibbous (98%)

The phases of the moon

The phases of the Moon are: New Moon, Crescent Moon, Crescent Moon, Waxing Gibbous, Full Moon, Waning Gibbous, Waning Quarter, and Waning Quarter. A cycle starting from a Full Moon to its next counterpart, called a synodic month or lunar month, lasts approximately 29.5 days.

Although the Full Moon only occurs during the exact moment when the Earth, Moon, and Sun form a perfect alignment, to our eyes, the Moon appears full for approximately three days.

Different names for different types of Full Moon

There are a wide variety of specialized names used to identify different types or times of full moons. These names mainly date back to a combination of cultural, agricultural and natural observations about the Moon, which aim to allow humans to not only predict seasonal changes but also track the passage of time.

For example, the Full Moon of most months has a name from Native American, American Colonial, or other North American traditions, and its titles reflect seasonal changes and events in nature.

Wolf Moon (January): Inspired by the cries of hungry wolves.

Snow Moon (February): A nod to the heavy snowfall of the month.

Worm Moon (March): Named after the earthworms that mark melting points.

Pink Moon (April): In honor of blooming pink wildflowers.

Flower Moon (May): Celebrating the blooming of flowers.

Strawberry Moon (June): Marks the best strawberry harvest season.

Buck Moon (July): Recognize the new antlers of the goats.

Sturgeon Moon (August): It owes its name to the abundant sturgeon fish.

Corn Moon (September): It means the corn harvest period.

Hunter's Moon (October): Commemoration of the hunting season before winter.

Beaver Moon (November): Reflects the time when beavers are busy building their winter dams.

Cold moon (December): Evokes the cold of winter.

Additionally, there are some additional names for full moons that commonly appear in public conversations and news.

Large moon: This term is reserved for a Full Moon that aligns with the lunar perigee, which is the closest point of the Moon to the Earth in its orbit. This proximity makes the Full Moon unusually large and bright. For a Full Moon to earn the Super Moon label, it must be within about 90 percent of its closest distance to Earth.

blue Moon: A Blue Moon is the second Full Moon in a month. that experiences two Full Moons. This phenomenon graces our skies approximately every 2.7 years. Although the term suggests a color, blue moons are not actually blue. Very occasionally, atmospheric conditions, such as recent volcanic eruptions, can give the Moon a slightly bluish tint, but this hue is not linked to the term.

harvest moon: The Harvest Moon, which occurs closer to the autumn equinox, usually in September, is often famous for a distinctive orange tint it can display. This Full Moon rises near sunset and sets near sunrise, providing long hours of bright lunar light. Historically, this was invaluable to farmers harvesting their produce.

Common questions about full moons

Moonrise over the Syr Darya River in Baikonur, Kazakhstan, on November 13, 2016. Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

What is the difference between Full Moon and New Moon? A Full Moon is observed when the Earth is between the Sun and the Moon, making the entire face of the Moon visible. In contrast, during the New Moon, the Moon is between the Earth and the Sun, shrouding its Earth-facing side in darkness.

How does the Full Moon influence the tides? The Moon's gravitational pull causes Earth's waters to bulge, generating tides. During both the Full Moon and the New Moon, the Sun, Earth and Moon are aligned, generating “spring tides”. These tides can swing exceptionally high or low due to the combined gravitational influences of the Sun and Moon.

Do full moons have an impact on human behavior? While numerous tales suggest that full moons alter human behavior, causing greater restlessness or even madness, rigorous scientific analysis has largely debunked these tales.

Full moons, in their countless forms, are testament to humanity's enduring captivity with the cosmos. They not only evoke our heavenly connection but also tie us to the rhythms of the Earth. Whether you're an avid stargazer or a casual admirer of the night sky, full moons invariably catch our attention, inviting both introspection and wonder.

Here are the dates of all the lunar phases in 2024:

NewFirst quarterFullLast room
January 3
January 11January 17January 25February 2
February 9February 16thFebruary 24thMarch 3rd
March 10thMarch 17March 25thApril 1st
April 8April 15April 23rdMay 1
May 715 th of Maymay 23May 30
June 6thJune 14thJune 21June 28th
July 5thJuly 13July 21July 27th
August 4thAugust 12August 1926 of August
September 211 of SeptemberSeptember, 17th24th September
October 2ndOctober 10thOctober the 17thOctober 24th
November 1stNovember 9November 15November 22th
December 1stDecember 8December 15December 22th
December 30

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