The Sky Tonight Update: Full Flower Moon

The Moon will be located on the opposite side of the Earth as the Sun and its face will be will be fully illuminated.  This full moon was known by early Native American tribes as the Flower Moon because as the season of spring progresses, the days grow longer and the weather improves, inspiring plants everywhere to “spring forth” and blossom.  By May, winter’s cold grip has loosened and many plants take the opportunity to produce flowers at this time. Due to this, May’s full Moon has traditionally been known as the Flower Moon.

This moon has also been known as the Corn Planting Moon and the Milk Moon.

The Sky Tonight Update: Total Lunar Eclipse

A total lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes completely through the Earth’s dark shadow, or umbra. During this type of eclipse, the Moon will gradually get darker and then take on a rusty or blood red color. The eclipse will be visible throughout all of North America, Greenland, the Atlantic Ocean, and parts of western Europe and western Africa. (NASA Map and Eclipse Information)

The Sky Tonight Update: Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower

The Eta Aquarids is an above average shower, capable of producing up to 60 meteors per hour at its peak. Most of the activity is seen in the Southern Hemisphere. In the Northern Hemisphere, the rate can reach about 30 meteors per hour. It is produced by dust particles left behind by comet Halley, which has been observed since ancient times. The shower runs annually from April 19 to May 28. It peaks this year on the night of May 6 and the morning of the May 7.

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The Sky Tonight Update: Partial Solar Eclipse

A partial solar eclipse occurs when the Moon covers only a part of the Sun, sometimes resembling a bite taken out of a cookie. A partial solar eclipse can only be safely observed with a special solar filter or by looking at the Sun’s reflection. This partial eclipse will be visible throughout most of the southeast Pacific Ocean and southern South America. It will be best seen from Argentina with 53% coverage.
(NASA Map and Eclipse Information)

The Sky Tonight Update: Lyrids Meteor Shower

The Lyrids is an average shower, usually producing about 20 meteors per hour at its peak. It is produced by dust particles left behind by comet C/1861 G1 Thatcher, which was discovered in 1861. The shower runs annually from April 16-25. It peaks this year on the night of the night of the 22nd and morning of the 23rd. These meteors can sometimes produce bright dust trails that last for several seconds. The Lyrids are one of the oldest recorded showers with observations going back to 687 B.C.

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The Sky Tonight Update: Full Pink Moon

The Moon will be located on the opposite side of the Earth as the Sun and its face will be will be fully illuminated.  This full moon was known by early Native American tribes as the Pink Moon because it marked the appearance of the moss pink, or wild ground phlox, which is one of the first spring flowers.

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The Sky Tonight Update: Full Worm Moon

The Moon will be located on the opposite side of the Earth as the Sun and its face will be will be fully illuminated.  This full moon was known by early Native American tribes as the Worm Moon because this was the time of year when the ground would begin to soften and the earthworms would reappear.  As the soil warms in spring, it invites robins and other birds to feed. 

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The Sky Tonight Update: Full Snow Moon

The Moon will be located on the opposite side of the Earth as the Sun and its face will be will be fully illuminated.  This full moon was known by early Native American tribes as the Snow Moon because the heaviest snows usually fell during this time of the year. Among the Mi’kmaq people of Eastern Canada, the driving winds that often accompanied February snows led to the name, Snow Blinding Moon. Because this month’s typically harsh weather conditions made hunting very difficult, other common names for February’s moon included the Hunger Moon, the Bony Moon, and the Little Famine Moon. Since hunting is difficult, this moon has also been known by some tribes as the Hunger Moon, since the harsh weather made hunting difficult.

To the early American colonists, the optimal time for trapping beaver, fox and mink was the dead of winter when these animals’ coats were at their fullest. So to them, February’s moon was known as the Trapper’s Moon.

The Sky Tonight Update: Full Wolf Moon

The Moon will be located on the opposite side of the Earth as the Sun and its face will be will be fully illuminated. This full moon was known by early Native American tribes as the Wolf Moon because this was the time of year when hungry wolf packs howled outside their camps. Because wolves often hunt at night, their howling has become associated with nightfall and particularly, the moon. However the centuries-old notion of wolves howling at the full moon is known to be more folklore than fact. This moon has also been known as the Old Moon and, because January’s full moon was usually the first full moon after Christmas, some cultures referred to it as the Moon After Yule.