All Full Moons draw attention to themselves by the way they reign supreme over the night, so that each one has acquired at least one special name.

These names date back to the Native Americans in the eastern and northern parts of North America, who had various names for the Full Moon during each month of the year. European settlers quickly adopted the Moon names used by the Native American groups, though most people today are only aware of a few of those names.

A Full Moon Rising
A Full Moon rising can be a dramatic celestial sight, and Full Moons can have many names. For example, October’s Full Moon is popularly called the “Hunter’s Moon”. David Haworth

October’s Full Moon is called the “Hunter’s Moon” or sometimes the “Blood Moon” or “Sanguine Moon”. It is the first Full Moon after the Harvest Moon (the Full Moon nearest the Autumnal equinox) and it gets its name from hunters who tracked and killed their prey by autumn moonlight, stockpiling food for the winter ahead.

The Hunter’s Moon rises this year on Friday, October 26th. Coincidentally, it will be near the time of the Moon’s closest approach to Earth for all of 2007. The Moon becomes full at 12:52 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time on the 26th, and the closest approach is just seven hours later. This will be the largest and brightest Full Moon for 2007; too bad it does not occur six evenings later for the trick-or- treaters on Halloween!

If you have a telescope or a binocular, why not invite some friends and neighbors over the evening for a closer look at the Hunter’s Moon? Moongazing offers a variety of interesting sights, from craters and domes to escarpments and mountain ranges.

Binoculars provide a fine view of the many lunar rays and spots that appear when the Moon is bright and full. Near the southern limb is Tycho, a 53 miles wide crater that is the hub of a system of bright streaks. Another series of white streamers radiate from Copernicus, and countless other craters with bright rims appear as brilliant white circles.

The Names of the Full Moons

• January: Wolf Moon

• February: Snow Moon

• March: Worm Moon

• April: Pink Moon

• May: Flower Moon

• June: Strawberry Moon

• July: Buck Moon

• August: Sturgeon Moon

• September: Harvest Moon

• October: Hunter’s Moon

• November: Beaver Moon

• December: Cold Moon

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