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Full moon

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Full_moon.jpeg
The Galileo spacecraft took this composite image on 7 December 1992 on its way to explore the Jupiter system in 1995-97. The color is 'enhanced' in the sense that the CCD camera is sensitive to near infrared wavelengths of light beyond human vision.

The full moon is the phase of the moon that occurs when the Moon lies on the opposite side of Earth from the Sun. The moon as seen from the surface of the earth is fully illuminated by the sun at this time, presenting a "full" round disc to viewers on earth. As always, only half the total surface of the moon is illuminated.

A full moon is the only time when a lunar eclipse is possible; at that time the moon may move through the shadow cast by the earth. However, because of the tilt of the moon's orbit around the earth relative to the earth's orbit around the sun, the moon may pass above or below the shadow, so a lunar eclipse does not occur at every full moon. Full moons are generally a poor time to conduct astronomical observations, since the bright reflected sunlight from the moon overwhelms the dimmer light from stars.

The average time of full moon number N is approximately:

D = 20.362954 + 29.5305888531 × N + 102.19 × 10-12 × N 2

where D is the number of days (and fractions) since 1 January 2000 00:00:00 TT, and N is an integer.

To obtain this day expressed in UTC (world clock time) for future events (N > 0), apply the following approximate correction:

-0.000739 - 235 × 10-12 × N 2

The true full moon may differ from this by more than 14 hours, due to periodic perturbations. The long-term error of the formula is approximately 1 × cy2 seconds in TT, and 11 × cy2 seconds in UT (cy is centuries since 2000); see the new moon page for a detailed explanation.

The age and apparent size of the full moon vary on cycle of just under 14 synodic months, which is called the full moon cycle.

Full moons are traditionally associated with insanity (hence the terms lunacy and lunatic) and with various unusual phenomena such as lycanthropy.

Neopagans hold a monthly ritual called an Esbat at each full moon.

The traditional Chinese calendar is based on the phases of the moon. The full moon is always the middle of a month. The Mid-Autumn Festival falls on the full moon of the eighth month. The Lantern Festival falls on the first full moon of the year. Many religious Chinese people prepare their ritualistic offerings to their ancestors and deities on every full moon and new moon.

In Cartoons the moon is usually portrayed as being made of cheese. This is not true.

Full Moon Names
Month Names Other Names Used
January Wolf Moon Old Moon
February Snow Moon Hunger Moon
March Worm Moon Crow Moon, Crust Moon, Sugar Moon, Sap Moon
April Pink Moon Sprouting Grass Moon, Egg Moon, Fish Moon
May Flower Moon Corn Planting Moon, Milk Moon
June Strawberry Moon Rose Moon, Hot Moon
July Buck Moon Thunder Moon, Hay Moon
August Sturgeon Moon Red Moon, Green Corn Moon
September Harvest Moon Corn Moon, Barley Moon
October Hunter's Moon Travel Moon, Dying Grass Moon
November Beaver Moon Frost Moon
December Cold Moon Long Nights Moon
These are the traditional names given to each month's Full Moon by Native Americans in the northern and eastern United States. The Moon was used to track the seasons. (From Farmer's Almanac)

The Blue Moon

See the full article Blue moon.

The origin of the term "Blue Moon" is steeped in folklore, and its meaning has changed and acquired new and interesting meanings and nuances over time. A blue moon is the second of two full moons to occur in the same calendar month. The original meaning of blue moon was the third full moon in a season when there were four full moons in that season.

See also

fr:Pleine lune nl:Volle maan

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