The first full moon of 2022 rises tonight (January 17) in conjunction with the Martin Luther King holiday in the United States and you can expect a dazzling (if chilly) view of Earth’s neighbor, weather permitting.
January’s full moon, also known as the Wolf’s Full Moon, peaks tonight at 6:48 pm EST (11:48 GMT). However, sky watchers will start seeing the moon rise about 24 minutes before sunset. For New York City watchers, the full moon will rise at 4:31 p.m. local time, according to Time and Date.
Full moons occur when the moon is exactly on the opposite side of Earth from the sun. As a result, the moon is illuminated because we see the light of the sun reflected on it. Tonight’s Wolf Moon will appear full through Wednesday morning and sky watchers may also see the bright star Pollux near the full moon, which is the brightest star in the constellation Gemini, according to a NASA statement.
If you’re hoping to get a good shot of the first full moon of 2022, we can help. Check out our guide on how to photograph the moon. If you’re looking for a camera, here’s our overview of the best cameras for astrophotography and the best lenses for astrophotography.
Related: January 2022 Night Sky: What You Can See This Month
“Stay warm, but when the sky is clear, take advantage of these early dusks and late dawns to get outside, look up, and share in the wonders of the sky.” NASA’s Gordon Johnston wrote in the full moon guide for January and February.
January’s full moon is traditionally called the Wolf Moon because wolves can be heard howling at the moon more at this time of year. Wolves were believed to howl more during the winter due to hunger. However, howling can also be a sign that wolves are defining territory, trying to locate other pack members, strengthening social bonds or coordinating hunts, according to The Farmers’ Almanac.
Besides “Wolf Moon,” the January full moon has a few other nicknames it goes by. For example, the Assiniboine people of the Northern Great Plains have referred to this month’s full moon as the Central Moon because it rises during the middle of the cold season in the Northern Hemisphere.
According to The Farmers’ Almanac, other full moon names include Cold Moon, Frost Blast Moon, Freeze Moon, Severe Moon, Harsh Moon, Canada Goose Moon, Great Moon, Greetings Moon and the Moon of the Spirit. — all of which represent the extreme temperatures of the winter season and welcoming the New Year. NASA’s full moon guide also refers to January’s Wolf Moon as the Ice Moon, the Moon after Yule, and the Old Moon.
Editor’s Note: If you have an amazing photo or video of the night sky that you’d like to share for a potential story or image gallery, please let us know! You can send images and comments to spacephotos@.
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