Did you see the “Wolf Moon” rise? One of nature’s most spectacular sights, the rising of January’s full Moon—the first of 2021—was photographed around the world as our natural satellite in space completed another orbit.
Generally called the “Wolf Moon” in January, but also the “Old Moon,” “Ice Moon” and—in the U.K.—the “Snow Moon,” January’s full Moon occurred in the constellation of Cancer, the crab.
Best viewed at moonrise during dusk on Thursday, January 28, 2021, the rise of the full “Wolf Moon” first appeared as always on the eastern horizon draped in orange.
As it rose higher into the sky it turned a pale yellow color before becoming the bright, white orb we normally associate with a full Moon.
It’s always a good plan to watch a full moonrise because it’s then that you’ll best appreciate the delicate hues of orange, yellows and even pinks when it’s close to the horizon.
Why does the rising full Moon appear so colorful? The science is the same as for sunrises and sunsets. As you look straight across to the horizon you’re looking through the largest amount of Earth’s atmosphere, and also through its thickest part.
As a result, short-wavelength blue light gets scattered by more particles in Earth’s atmosphere to leave largely longer wavelengths of light—yellow, orange and red—to reach your eyes.
Moonrise is also the best time to be subjected to the “Moon illusion” during which the Moon appears larger than usual.
It’s an optical illusion that’s caused by the human brain, which tends to see things that are close to the horizon as particularly large. The presence of trees, buildings and mountains around the Moon somehow accentuates its size.
Try it again next month—the full Moon will appear larger as it rises compared to a few hours later when it’s higher in the sky.
The “Wolf Moon” was visible just below Castor and Pollux—the brightest stars in the constellation of Gemini—and just 2.3° from the Beehive Cluster in Cancer, which is one of the nearest open clusters of stars to the Solar System. However, this (stunning in binoculars) star cluster will look much clearer and more impactful in the coming nights when the Moon has moved out of the way.
The “Wolf Moon” was the first of 12 full Moons in 2021. Our solar year is around 365 days while our lunar year is around 354 days, so sometimes —as in 2020—there are 13 full Moons in one calendar (solar) year.
However, there are 12 full Moons in 2021, including three “supermoons,” a “Blood Moon” total lunar eclipse on May 26, 2021, and a “Blue Moon” on Sunday, August 22, 2021.
The next full Moon is the full “Snow Moon,” which will occur on Saturday, February 27, 2021. This “Snow Moon” will be the final full Moon of the astronomical season of winter, which ends on the date of the Spring equinox—March 21, 2021.
From Europe and the east coast of North America, dusk on February 27, 2021 will be the best time to see the full “Snow Moon,” while on the west coast of North America the best time to view will be the previous night, February 26, 2021.
Wishing you clear skies and wide eyes.
This article is auto-generated by Algorithm Source: www.forbes.com