Imagine the Universe!
Imagine Home  |   Ask an Astrophysicist  |  
Ask an Astrophysicist

The Question

(Submitted March 14, 1997)

March's full moon is often the "Sugaring Moon" and the "Harvest Moon" and the "Blue Moon" are also quite well known, but what are the names of the full moons for each month? A third grade in New York is interested in knowing since we've just done Maple Sugaring.

The Answer

Your message was forwarded to the Ask an Astrophysicist service. Our group of experts was able to dig up quite a few useful references to web pages which can answer your question. Here are some of them.
From a now defunct site (http://www.peconic.net/independent/06199608.htm) on Night Sky (June 19 - July 2, 1996)

The Full Moon of June generally goes by the epithet of the "Rose Moon," or the "Flower Moon," while people in certain areas blessed with berries, as ours is, prefer to call it the "Strawberry Moon." But even in a month with that many Moon monikers to go around, only the first Full Moon gets granted a formal name. Following the Rose/Flower/Strawberry Full Moon of Saturday, June 1, the Sunday June 30 return, like all second comers, will be hailed simply as the "Blue Moon".


The full moon on June 30, 1996 was (barely!) a so-called "Blue Moon," because it occurred as the second Full Moon within the month. In time zones East of Brevard County, Florida, however, this was the first Full Moon of July. Hence, it was called the "Thunder Moon" or "Hay Moon".

All full moons draw attention to themselves by the way they dominate the sky from dusk to dawn, so that each one has acquired at least one special name. Moon names far outnumber muffin varieties, including Green Corn, Thunder, the Sturgeon Moon, and my personal favorite, the Moon of Pairing Reindeer. Crescent, half, and gibbous moons, on the other hand, are merely termed waxing or waning, not named for anything in particular. The full moon of June generally goes by the pet name Rose Moon, while slightly less discriminating observers dub it the Flower Moon, and romantics in certain fruited areas prefer to gaze at the Strawberry Moon. But even in a month with that many moon monikers, only the first full moon gets a formal name. Following the Rose/Flower/Strawberry full moon of Saturday, June 1, the Sunday, June 30, return, like all second comers, will be hailed simply as the Blue Moon.

(Note, however, this meaning of "Blue Moon" is based on a mistake: http://SkyandTelescope.com/observing/objects/moon/article_377_1.asp.)


From a now defunct site (http://www.noble.mass.edu/ref/fullmoon.htm)

Native American Names

January - Wolf Moon
February - Snow Moon, Hunger Moon, Opening Buds Moon
March - Maple Sugar Moon, Worm Moon
April - Frog Moon, Pink Moon, Planter's Moon
May - Flower Moon, Budding Moon
June - Strawberry Moon
July - Blood Moon, Buck Moon
August - Moon of the Green Corn, Sturgeon Moon
September - Harvest Moon
October - Hunter's Moon, Moon of Falling Leaves
November - Beaver Moon
December - Cold Moon


From http://www.fabandpp.org/cotm/moons.htm

January - Old Moon, Wolf Moon
February - Snow Moon
March - Sap Moon, Worm Moon, Crow Moon, Crust Moon
April - Grass Moon, Pink Moon, Moon of the Red Grass Appearing
May - Milk Moon, Flower Moon
June - Rose Moon, Strawberry Moon
July - Thunder Moon, Buck Moon
August - Green Corn Moon, Corn Moon, Sturgeon Moon
September - Fruit Moon, Harvest Moon
October - Harvest Moon, Hunter's Moon
November - Frost Moon, Beaver Moon
December - Long Night Moon, Cold Moon


I hope this helps to answer your question!

Tim Kallman, Karen Smale, and Pat Tyler
for the Ask an Astrophysicist team

Questions on this topic are no longer responded to by the "Ask an Astrophysicist" service. See http://imagine.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/ask_astro/ask_an_astronomer.html for help on other astronomy Q&A services.

Previous question
Prev
Main topic
Main
Next question
Next

If words seem to be missing from the articles, please read this.

Imagine the Universe! is a service of the High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center (HEASARC), Dr. Alan Smale (Director), within the Astrophysics Science Division (ASD) at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

The Imagine Team
Project Leader: Dr. Barbara Mattson
Curator: Meredith Gibb
Responsible NASA Official: Phil Newman
All material on this site has been created and updated between 1997-2014.
This page last updated: Thursday, 01-Dec-2005 13:58:37 EST