A full Hunter's Moon will light up the sky later this week

·2 min read

Stargazers are in for a particularly special lunar event later this week, as October's full Hunter's Moon is set to light up the sky.

The Hunter's Moon will appear as the sun goes down on Wednesday 20th October 2021 at 3.56pm GMT in the UK — and it's going to be an incredibly impressive sight.

"After the harvest moon comes the hunter's moon, in the preferred month to hunt summer-fattened deer and fox unable to hide in bare fields," say astronomers at the Royal Observatory Greenwich. "Like the harvest moon, the hunter's moon is also particularly bright and long in the sky, giving hunters the opportunity to stalk prey at night. Other names include the travel moon and the dying grass moon."

Photo credit: Richard Heathcote - Getty Images
Photo credit: Richard Heathcote - Getty Images

Why is October's full moon called the Hunter's Moon?

Also known as the Travel Moon and the Dying Moon, the name 'Hunter's Moon' relates to the moon's light during the autumnal month. At this point in the year, sunset and moonrise are closer together than normal and it's this light that traditionally made October the best time to hunt, hence the name.

According to Tania from the Royal Observatory Greenwich, "this name is thought to date back to early European and Native American tribes who would associate October's full moon with the season for hunting game and preparing for the winter months."

Photo credit: Marcos del Mazo - Getty Images
Photo credit: Marcos del Mazo - Getty Images

Why is October's full moon orange?

The Hunter's Moon can appear to look bigger and brighter than other full moons with a warm orange glow. Although some people might put this down to a "powerful mystique", according to science journalist Deborah Byrd, the real reason is much more scientific. "It’s the location of the moon near the horizon that causes the Hunter’s Moon – or any full moon – to look big and orange in colour," explains Byrd.

If you miss this moon, the Frost Moon and Cold Moon will follow in November and December.

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