This weekend, sky watchers have a wonderful celestial display to look forward to. The full moon of October is nearly upon us and will grace the skies on Sunday night. Famously known as the “Hunter’s Moon,” this month’s full moon is set to offer a dazzling light show, treating stargazers to an unforgettable spectacle.
The interesting thing about this year’s “Hunter’s Moon” is that, although magnificent in its gleaming beauty, it will be the smallest full moon that we see in 2019. This is because the October full moon will be the farthest one from Earth, explains Space. This month, the full moon phase will occur just three days after apogee, or the most distant point to Earth on the object’s elliptical orbit around our planet.
The moon sits at an average distance of 239,000 miles from Earth. Because the satellite doesn’t follow a perfectly circular orbit, it alternatively moves closer and farther away from Earth as it revolves around our planet during its roughly 29-day orbit. This month, the moon hit apogee on October 10, wandering some 252,214 miles from the planet’s center. The moon will slide into its closest point to Earth, or perigee, on October 26, coming within 252,214 miles of our planet.
Because the moon will reach peak fullness so close to apogee, the shiny orb will be relatively far from Earth when it officially becomes full — some 248,000 miles, to be exact. This will make the “Hunter’s Moon” appear 14 percent the size of a typical full moon, notes Forbes.
Best Times To Catch The Full ‘Hunter’s Moon’
The moon will officially reach full phase at 5:08 p.m. EDT on October 13. However, the beaming orb won’t be rising above the horizon until after twilight sets in. The 2019 “Hunter’s Moon” will make its gleaming appearance on the sky about 21 minutes after the setting sun has passed below the horizon at 6:19 p.m. ET. As such, sky watchers will be able to catch the splendid moonrise at 6:40 p.m. ET.
The brilliant full moon will set the next morning, at 7:35 a.m. ET on October 14. This gives stargazers plenty of time to hit the streets and take in the majesty of the “Hunter’s Moon.” However, Forbes indicates the moonrise and moonset on October 13 as the best viewing times, as well as the moonrise on October 14.
“The only times to look intently at the full moon are at moonrise and moonset, when it will appear or disappear close to the horizon not only looking a pale orange color, but also in the context of a partly-lit landscape,” notes the media outlet.
“At this time of year in the Northern Hemisphere that means it’s set against a backdrop of fall color, which could make for some excellent photographs.”
What To Expect
According to New York Upstate, stargazers are in for quite a treat. The “Hunter’s Moon” will put on a fantastic display, casting a glorious orange glow across the sky — a perfectly fitting way to kick-start Halloween season. This is because the moon rises so close to the sunset and is expected to reflect the sun’s orange color, setting the sky ablaze with a bright and fiery display.
While the October full moon is most commonly known as the “Hunter’s moon,” the celestial event goes by other names as well. For instance, some Native American tribes called it the “Travel Moon” and the “Dying Grass Moon.”
“Some sources suggest that other names for the ‘Hunter’s Moon’ are the ‘Sanguine’ or ‘Blood Moon,’ either associated with the blood from hunting or the turning of the leaves in autumn,” explains the Old Farmer’s Almanac.
To find out how the “Hunter’s Moon” got its name, check out this report from The Inquisitr on the many names of the October full moon.