A full moon takes place once every 29.5 days, occurring in the middle of the lunar cycle. This specific full moon is the Wolf Moon, indicating that it is just the first of the year. Specific names named as the full moon in January include Old Moon, Ice Moon, and After Yule Moon.
In 2020, the Wolf Moon coincides with an eclipse, the first of six this year and the second of the year, following the solar eclipse of December 26.
This week’s lunar eclipse is penumbral, only the outer shadow (penumbra) can fall on the moon. It will not be the inner, more powerful shadow (the umbra), so the eclipse’s summit is harder to discern than if it were one of the other two (a partial or a total) forms of the lunar eclipse that can be missed.
The next eclipse in the calendar is also a penumbral lunar eclipse and is due on June 5, at 2:21 p.m. ET. It is not visible from the US and most of the Americas during the daylight hours. Those who are best placed to see it will be seen in Europe, Asia, and East Africa.
The Wolf Moon was named for hungry wolves, who hurled at the moon during the winter because of lack of food, according to the Royal Museums of Greenwich.
The name of every full moon during the annual cycle is derived from different cultures, including the Americans and the Anglo-Saxons.
The Snow Moon, also known as the Storm Moon or Hunger Moon, takes place in February. The Worm Moon is named for March following the worm trails on the newly thawed ground. It is also called “Chaste Moon,” “Death Moon,” “Crust Moon,” and “Sap Moon.”
Pink Moon (April), Flower Moon (May), Strawberry Moon (June), Buck Moon (July), Sturgeon Moon (August), Full Corn Moon (September), Hunter’s Moon (October), Beaver Moon (November) and Cold Moon (December) are also named after the new moon.
An exception is the “Blue Moon,” referring to the year’s 13th full moon or second full moon of the month. Every two or three years, a “Blue Moon” takes place once.
Three forms of lunar eclipse exist, including penumbral eclipse.
Only a portion of the moon reaches the shadow of the Earth is a partial lunar eclipse. The Moon never reaches the moon entirely. Instead, it seems to morsel the sky. The shadow is rising. Then it gets smaller before it completely disappears.
The total lunar eclipse of these three is the most dramatic. It’s when the sun and the moon are on the other side of the earth. Although the moon sits directly in the shadow of the Earth, sunlight escapes and reaches the moon and turns it into a reddish color, which is why its alternate name is “blood moon.”