Blood moon. Blue moon. Harvest moon. Supermoon. Each of these phrases refers to a distinct appearance of Earth's moon, corresponding with different lunar phases we see in the sky. So what exactly can these names, and “super blood wolf moon,” teach us?
Five Moon Names to Know for Successful Moongazing
Published: January 24, 2019
Onscreen: What’s the meaning behind moon names?
During a total lunar eclipse when the Earth passes in between the sun and the moon and blocks the sun's light from falling directly onto the moon, the moon receives a little light from the edges of Earth's atmosphere. This turns the light (and the moon's surface) red.
Blue Moon is not based on color. One meaning: the extra full moon in a season that has 4 full moons. This happens about every 2.5 years. Another meaning refers to the second full moon in a calendar month.
A full moon that happens closest to the beginning of autumn. Its name comes from a time before electricity when farmers depended on the moon's light to harvest their crops late into the night.
Appearing larger than usual in our night sky, occurs when the moon is slightly closer to Earth than usual. Astronomers call a supermoon a perigean full moon, which is full and at its closest point in its orbit around Earth.
Super Blood Wolf Moon
Supermoon — is close to Earth. Blood moon — appears red during an eclipse. And a Wolf moon is a full moon in January. So, a Super Blood Wolf Moon has all of the above.
Happy moon gazing!
Digital Production: Ana Aceves and Sukee Bennett
Visuals: Videoblocks, Shutterstock, joiseyshowaa, Howard/Harriet Greenwood, k4dordy, B.K.
© WGBH Educational Foundation 2019