Full moon calendar 2024: When to see the next full moon
The next full moon will be on Thursday, Jan. 25 at 12:54 p.m. EST (1754 GMT), but the moon will still appear full the night before and after its peak to the casual stargazer.
January’s full moon is also known as the Wolf Moon, according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac.
The full moon shows its face to Earth about once a month. Well, sort of.
Most of the time, the full moon isn’t perfectly full. We always see the same side of the moon, but part of it is in shadow, due to the moon’s rotation. Only when the moon, Earth and the sun are perfectly aligned is the moon 100% full, and that alignment produces a lunar eclipse.
And sometimes — once in a blue moon — the moon is full twice in a month (or four times in a season, depending on which definition you prefer).
Related: Night sky: What you can see
Fancy taking a more in-depth moonlit tour of our rocky companion? Our ultimate guide to observing the moon will help you plan your next skywatching venture whether it be exploring the lunar seas, mountainous terrain, or the many craters that blanket the landscape. You can also see where astronauts, rovers and landers have ventured with our Apollo landing sites observing guide.
You can prepare for the next full moon or eclipse with our guides on how to photograph the moon and how to photograph a lunar eclipse. If you need imaging gear, consider our best cameras for astrophotography and best lenses for astrophotography to ensure you’re ready for your next skywatching venture.
If you’re looking for binoculars or a telescope to observe the moon, check out our guides for the best binoculars and best telescopes.
When is the full moon? Calendar dates for 2024
This is when full moons will occur in 2024, according to NASA:
Swipe to scroll horizontallyDateNameU.S. Eastern TimeGMTJanuary 25Wolf Moon12:54 p.m.17:54February 24Snow Moon7:30 a.m.12:30March 25Worm Moon3:00 a.m.07:00April 23Pink Moon7:49 p.m.23:49May 23Flower Moon9:53 a.m.13:53June 21Strawberry Moon9:08 p.m.01:08 on June 22July 21Buck Moon6:17 a.m.10:17August 19Sturgeon Moon2:26 p.m.18:26September 17Harvest Moon10:34 p.m.02:34 on Sept. 18October 17Hunter’s Moon7:26 a.m.11:26November 15Beaver Moon4:29 p.m.21:29December 15Cold Moon4:02 a.m.09:02 The 2024 full moon names explained
Many cultures have given distinct names to each month’s full moon. The names were applied to the entire month in which each occurred. The Farmer’s Almanac lists several names that are commonly used in the United States. There are some variations in the moon names, but in general, the same ones were used among the Algonquin tribes from New England on west to Lake Superior. European settlers followed their own customs and created some of their own names.
Other Native American people had different names. In the book “This Day in North American Indian History” (Da Capo Press, 2002), author Phil Konstantin lists more than 50 native peoples and their names for full moons. He also lists them on his website, AmericanIndian.net.
Amateur astronomer Keith Cooley has a brief list of the moon names of other cultures, including Chinese and Celtic, on his website.
Chinese moon names:Swipe to scroll horizontallyMonthNameMonthNameJanuaryHoliday MoonJulyHungry Ghost MoonFebruaryBudding MoonAugustHarvest MoonMarchSleepy MoonSeptemberChrysanthemum MoonAprilPeony MoonOctoberKindly moonMay Dragon MoonNovemberWhite MoonJuneLotus MoonDecemberBitter Moon
Full moon names often correspond to seasonal markers, so a Harvest Moon occurs at the end of the growing season, in September or October, and the Cold Moon occurs in frosty December. At least, that’s how it works in the Northern Hemisphere.
In the Southern Hemisphere, where the seasons are switched, the Harvest Moon occurs in March and the Cold Moon is in June. According to Earthsky.org, these are common names for full moons south of the equator.
January: Hay Moon, Buck Moon, Thunder Moon, Mead MoonFebruary (mid-summer): Grain Moon, Sturgeon Moon, Red Moon, Wyrt Moon, Corn Moon, Dog Moon, Barley MoonMarch: Harvest Moon, Corn MoonApril: Harvest Moon, Hunter’s Moon, Blood MoonMay: Hunter’s Moon, Beaver Moon, Frost MoonJune: Oak Moon, Cold Moon, Long Night’s MoonJuly: Wolf Moon, Old Moon, Ice MoonAugust: Snow Moon, Storm Moon, Hunger Moon, Wolf MoonSeptember: Worm Moon, Lenten Moon, Crow Moon, Sugar Moon, Chaste Moon, Sap MoonOctober: Egg Moon, Fish Moon, Seed Moon, Pink Moon, Waking MoonNovember: Corn Moon, Milk Moon, Flower Moon, Hare MoonDecember: Strawberry Moon, Honey Moon, Rose Moon
The phases of the moon explained
The moon is a sphere that travels once around Earth every 27.3 days. It also takes about 27 days for the moon to rotate on its axis. So, the moon always shows us the same face; there is no single “dark side” of the moon. As the moon revolves around Earth, it is illuminated from varying angles by the sun — what we see when we look at the moon is reflected sunlight. On average, the moon rises about 50 minutes later each day, which means sometimes it rises during daylight and other times at night.
There are four phases of the moon, new moon, first quarter moon, full moon and third quarter moon.
At new moon, the moon is between Earth and the sun, so that the side of the moon facing toward us receives no direct sunlight, and is lit only by dim sunlight reflected from Earth.
A few days later, as the moon moves around Earth, the side we can see gradually becomes more illuminated by direct sunlight. This thin sliver is called the waxing crescent.
A week after the new moon, the moon is 90 degrees away from the sun in the sky and is half-illuminated from our point of view — what we call first quarter because it is about a quarter of the way around Earth.
A few days later, the area of illumination continues to increase. More than half of the moon’s face appears to be getting sunlight. This phase is called a waxing gibbous moon.
When the moon has moved 180 degrees from its new moon position, the sun, Earth and the moon form a line. The moon’s disk is as close as it can be to being fully illuminated by the sun, so this is called full moon.
Next, the moon moves until more than half of its face appears to be getting sunlight, but the amount is decreasing. This is the waning gibbous phase.
Days later, the moon has moved another quarter of the way around Earth, to the third quarter position. The sun’s light is now shining on the other half of the visible face of the moon.
Next, the moon moves into the waning crescent phase as less than half of its face appears to be getting sunlight, and the amount is decreasing.
Finally, the moon moves back to its new moon starting position. Because the moon’s orbit is not exactly in the same plane as Earth’s orbit around the sun, they rarely are perfectly aligned. Usually the moon passes above or below the sun from our vantage point, but occasionally it passes right in front of the sun, and we get an eclipse of the sun.
Each full moon is calculated to occur at an exact moment, which may or may not be near the time the moon rises where you are. So when a full moon rises, it’s typically doing so some hours before or after the actual time when it’s technically full, but a casual skywatcher won’t notice the difference. In fact, the moon will often look roughly the same on two consecutive nights surrounding the full moon.
Lunar eclipses of 2024
Lunar eclipses are inextricably tied to the full moon. To find out where and when you can see the next lunar eclipse check out our lunar eclipse guide.
When the moon is in its full phase, it passes behind the Earth with respect to the sun and can pass through Earth’s shadow, creating a lunar eclipse. When the moon is fully inside the Earth’s shadow, we see a total lunar eclipse. At other times, the moon only partially passes through the Earth’s shadow in what is known as a partial, or even penumbral lunar eclipse (when the moon only skirts through the outermost region of Earth’s shadow).
There are two lunar eclipses in 2024: A penumbral lunar eclipse on March 25 and a partial lunar eclipse on Sept. 17-18. Though neither will be particularly dramatic.
The penumbral lunar eclipse on March 25 will be a very slight lunar eclipse in which the moon passes through the outermost edge of the Earth’s shadow. It will be visible from much of Europe, North and East Asia, North America, South America, the Arctic and Antarctica according to TimeandDate.com.
The penumbral eclipse will begin at 12:53 a.m. EDT (0453 GMT), the maximum stage of the eclipse will occur a couple of hours later at 3:12 a.m. EDT (0712 GMT) and the penumbral eclipse will end at 5:32 a.m. EDT (0932 GMT). The overall duration of the eclipse will be 4 hours and 39 minutes.
The partial lunar eclipse on Sept. 17-18 will be visible over Europe, Much of Asia, Africa, North America, South America, the Pacific, the Atlantic, the Indian Ocean, the Arctic and Antarctica, according to TimeandDate.com.
It will begin at 8:41 p.m. EDT (0141 GMT on Sept. 18), the maximum point of the eclipse will occur at 10:44 p.m. EDT (0341 GMT on Sept. 18) and the partial lunar eclipse will end at 12:47 a.m. EDT on Sept. 18 (0547 GMT). The total duration of the partial lunar eclipse is 4 hours and 6 minutes.
Solar eclipses of 2024
When the moon is in its “new” phase, it passes between the Earth and the sun, so the side facing the Earth appears dark. To find out when and where you can see the next solar eclipse, check out our solar eclipse guide.
Occasionally, the moon’s orbit lines up with the sun in such a way that part or all of the sun can be blocked by the moon, as viewed from Earth. When the moon completely blocks the sun’s disk, we see a total solar eclipse during the day, which can be a truly awe-inspiring site. Other times, the moon can only partially block the sun in a partial solar eclipse.
The moon can even create a “ring of fire” solar eclipse when it passes directly in front of the sun, but is at a point in its orbit that is too far from Earth to fully cover the sun’s disk. This leaves a ring, or “annulus,” around the moon to create what is called an annular solar eclipse.
There are two solar eclipses in 2024: a total solar eclipse on April 8 and an annular solar eclipse on Oct. 2.
A total solar eclipse will darken the skies over Mexico, the U.S. and Canada on April 8, 2024.
It comes just six months after the impressive annular solar eclipse which swept across eight states in the U.S. Southwest as well as Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia and Brazil.
The second solar eclipse of 2024 will be an annular “ring of fire” solar eclipse visible in South America.
To be able to see all the phases of the eclipse including the famous “ring of fire” you must be located somewhere along the path of annularity which cuts through Argentina and Chile. Observers situated close to but outside the path of annularity will see a partial solar eclipse where the moon appears to take a “bite” out of the sun.
To keep up to date on all our solar eclipse coverage head on over to our solar eclipse live updates page.
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