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Full Moon

Wed, 31 Jan 2018 at08:28 EST(45 days ago)
13:28 UTC

Dominic Ford, Editor
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The Moon will reach full phase. At this time in its monthly cycle of phases, the Moon lies almost directly opposite the Sun in the sky, placing it high above the horizon for much of the night.

This month's full moon will take place unusually close to the time of month when the Moon also makes its closest approach to the Earth – called its perigee. This means the moon will appear slightly larger and brighter than at other times, though any difference is imperceptible to the unaided eye. Perigee full moons such as this occur roughly once every 13 months.

The sequence of full moons through the year are often assigned names according to the seasons in which they fall. This month's will be the second to fall in winter 2018 – the Wolf Moon.

Over the nights following 31 January, the Moon will rise around an hour later each day, becoming prominent later in the night. Within a few days, it will only be visible in the pre-dawn and early-morning sky. By the time it reaches last quarter, a week after full moon, it will rise at around midnight and set at around noon.

This will be the second occasion when the moon reaches full phase in January 2018. It is relatively rare for two full moons to fall within the same calendar month, since they occur at 29.53-day intervals.

It happens on average once every 2.7 years, when a full moon takes place within the first few hours of a month.

In recent time, full moons such as this have commonly been called blue moons. This usage of the term is a twentieth century innovation, however, which originally stemmed from a misprint in Sky & Telescope magazine, which appeared in March 1946.

Historically, the term blue moon has been used to describe the third of four full moons to fall within one of the Earth's seasons.

In this system, the sequence of full moons through the year are assigned names according to the seasons in which they fall. Usually only three names are needed for the full moons in each season. If a fourth fell within the same season, one of them was left without a name. This additional full moon was called a blue moon.

At the exact moment when the Moon reaches full phase, it will lie at a declination of +17°04' in the constellation Cancer , and so will appear highest in the northern hemisphere. It will be visible from all latitudes south of 62°S. Its distance from the Earth will be 360,000 km.

The exact position of the Moon at the time it reaches full phase will be:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Angular Size
The Moon 08h54m50s +17°04' Cancer 33'09"

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0.

The sky on 31 January 2018
Sunrise 07:16
Sunset 17:28
Twilight ends
Twilight begins

14-day old moon
Age of Moon
14 days

All times shown in EST.
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 06:49 11:36 16:24
Venus 07:40 12:45 17:50
Moon 18:07 00:01 07:06
Mars 02:36 07:30 12:25
Jupiter 01:36 06:42 11:48
Saturn 05:01 09:46 14:31


The circumstances of this event were computed using the DE405 planetary ephemeris published by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

This event was automatically generated by searching the ephemeris for planetary alignments which are of interest to amateur astronomers, and the text above was generated based on an estimate of your location.

Related news

31 Jan 2018, 08:28 EST  –  Full Moon
07 Feb 2018, 10:55 EST  –  Moon at Last Quarter
15 Feb 2018, 16:07 EST  –  New Moon
23 Feb 2018, 03:10 EST  –  Moon at First Quarter

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