Simulated image courtesy of Tom Ruen.

Full Moon

Dominic Ford, Editor
From the Moon feed

Objects: The Moon
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The Moon will reach full phase. At this time of the month, it is visible for much of the night, rising at around dusk and setting at around dawn.

The Worm Moon

The sequence of full moons that fall through the year are sometimes assigned names such as the "Worm Moon", according to the months and seasons in which they fall. This practice has been popularised in recent decades by the Farmers' Almanac in the United States. The names used by that almanac claim to have ancient origins from Native American tribes. This claim has been examined in detail by Patricia Haddock's book Mysteries of the Moon (1992) and is partially true, but the selection of names is largely arbitrary.

Throughout history a great variety of different names have been given to the sequence of lunar cycles through the year, and modern lists of such names, such as those popularised by the Farmers' Almanac, tend to inevitably be a medley of names taken from many different cultures.

According to the Venerable Bede's De temporum ratione (The Reckoning of Time; 725 AD) – an authoritative account of the calendar used in Saxon England – the lunar month containing the third full moon after the December solstice (within winter) was called the "month of wildness (Hrēþ-mōnaþ)".

The biography of Charlemagne (circa 817–833 AD), written a few years after his death, gives a name of the "spring month (Lenzin-mānod)" for the same lunar month.

The last full moon before the March equinox has traditionally been called the lenten moon, since it usually falls within lent, by the definition of the date of Easter. The only circumstances in which this does not occur is when a full moon falls between the date of the true astronomical equinox, and the fixed date of midnight on 21 March assumed for the equinox in the calculation of the date of Easter.

However, in the scheme followed by the Farmers' Almanac, which has become rather widely quoted, any full moon in the month of March is called the "Worm" Moon.

Observing the Moon in coming days

Over the nights following 18 March, 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 in the middle of the night and set at around noon.

The table below lists the rising and setting times of the moon in the days around full moon:

Date Moonrise Moonset Phase
13 Mar 202213:5605:4481%
14 Mar 202215:0006:1688%
15 Mar 202216:0606:4694%
16 Mar 202216:0406:4498%
17 Mar 202217:1507:11100%
18 Mar 202218:2407:3299%
19 Mar 202219:3007:5996%
20 Mar 202220:4108:2191%
21 Mar 202221:5308:4984%
22 Mar 202223:0809:2375%

The exact moment of full moon

The exact moment of full moon is defined as the time when the Moon's ecliptic longitude is exactly 180° away from the Sun's ecliptic longitude, as observed from the center of the Earth. However, the Moon does not appear in any way special at this instant in time, and a full moon can be observed at any time of night.

At the moment it reaches full phase, the Moon will lie at a declination of 4°55'N in the constellation Virgo . It will lie at a distance of 380,000 km from the Earth. The chart below shows the size of this month's full moon in comparison to the largest (perigee) and smallest (apogee) possible apparent size of a full moon, drawn to scale.

The Moon
Full Moon
at perigee
The Moon
March 2022
Full Moon
The Moon
Full Moon
at apogee

The celestial coordinates of the Moon at the time it reaches full phase will be:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Angular Size
The Moon 11h57m00s 4°55'N Virgo 31'21"

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0.

The sky on 18 March 2022
Sunrise
07:01
Sunset
19:05
Twilight ends
20:37
Twilight begins
05:25

16-day old moon
Waning Gibbous

99%

16 days old

Planets
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 06:40 12:14 17:47
Venus 04:54 10:02 15:10
Moon 18:24 01:02 07:28
Mars 05:02 09:55 14:48
Jupiter 06:44 12:27 18:10
Saturn 05:36 10:43 15:50
All times shown in EDT.

Source

The circumstances of this event were computed using the DE430 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

18 Mar 2022  –  Full Moon
25 Mar 2022  –  Moon at Last Quarter
01 Apr 2022  –  New Moon
09 Apr 2022  –  Moon at First Quarter

Image credit

Simulated image courtesy of Tom Ruen.

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41.14°N
73.26°W
EDT

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