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Home / Tips and Tricks / There’s a Wolf Moon Tonight: How to Howl at the First Full Moon of 2021

There’s a Wolf Moon Tonight: How to Howl at the First Full Moon of 2021



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A plane taking off from Ronald Reagan National Airport is seen in front of the moon as it rises.

NASA / Bill Ingalls

A fantastic evening show will be on Thursday from almost anywhere on Earth with clear skies, although the backgrounds will of course vary. But wherever you are, you should be able to see the sunset and then, around the same time, watch the first full moon of 2021, nicknamed the Wolf Moon in North America.

The moon will also appear to be full for the next few nights, but it is not until Thursday evening that you can observe the spectacle of that enormous full moon rising over the horizon just as the sun sets.

It’s not really clear why this midwinter moon was named after a wild canid, although some suspect it can be traced back to traditional Native American and European methods of tracking the passage of time. As NASA points out, this particular full moon is also observed elsewhere, such as the Candles Moon, the Thaipusam Festival Moon, the Ananda Pagoda Festival Moon, and the Full Moon of Tu B’Shevat, among others.

Astronomically, the time when the moon is at its fullest – that is, right opposite the sun – comes Thursday at 11:16 a.m.PT. But it is clear that our satellite will not be visible from many locations at that time. Fortunately, anyone can just plan on going out at sunset to see the show.

Once dusk turns to night, lit by that howling moon, Mars should also be visible high in the sky in the southwest. Orient yourself to look in that direction and then look almost directly overhead; it should be the brightest object you see.

But no heavenly spectacle is easier to absorb than a glorious full moon. It is also one of the better for even amateurs to shoot. If you get great photos please share them with me @EricCMack.

To follow CNET’s 2021 Space Calendar to keep up with the latest space travel news this year. You can even add it to your own Google calendar.




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