There are few more beautiful sights in nature than a pale orange full moon emerging from the horizon in the half-light, and against a backdrop of fall color. If skies are clear this Sunday, that exquisite celestial sight is all yours as October’s full moon rises in the east around sunset as the Hunter’s Moon.
Why is October’s full moon called the full Hunter’s Moon?
Hunter’s Moon traditionally refers to a full moon that appears during October. From the perspective of Native Americans and early colonial settlers who lived closer to nature and named the moons, the seasonal connotations are obvious. October is for preparing for colder weather, which means increased hunting in leafless forests and crop-less fields. No wonder, then, that October’s full moon is also traditionally termed the Dying Grass Moon, the Travel Moon, and the Blood Moon (though the latter is also slang for a total lunar eclipse).
When is the Hunter’s Moon?
The moon will reach its full phase — the precise moment when Earth is between the moon and the sun — at 9:08 p.m. UTC on Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019. That’s 5:08 p.m. EDT and 2:08 p.m. PDT. However, it’s only possible to see a moon that’s 100% illuminated by the sun if you’re on the nightside of Earth, which this month does not include North America. However, that’s largely irrelevant because the best time to look at a full moon is not when it’s high in the sky — when its intense glare will be impossible to look at for more than a millisecond — but at moonrise and moonset, when it’s very close to the horizon. At those times it’s easier to gaze at because it’s a pale orange color, but it’s also a much more beautiful sight because moonrise and moonset happen close to sunset and sunrise, respectively. So you can see the full moon and the landscape around it. That gives you two chances to see Sunday’s Hunter’s Moon.
When is the best time to look at the Hunter’s Moon?
You can look for the Hunter’s Moon twice on Sunday, at both moonset/sunrise early in the morning (when the full moon will set in the west), and at moonrise/sunset later (when the full moon will be in the east). In terms of fullness, it doesn’t matter which one you go for. In New York, the moon sets at 6:35 a.m. EDT (sunrise is at 7:04 a.m. EDT) and the moon rises at 6:40 p.m. EDT (sunset is at 6:19 p.m. EDT). In Los Angeles, the moon sets at 6:38 a.m. PDT (sunrise is at 6:56 a.m. PDT) and the moon rises at 6:43 p.m. PDT (sunset is at 6:21 p.m. PDT).
For the moonset, start watching around 20 minutes before for the best effect. For the moonrise, you can start watching about five or 10 minutes after the exact time. For both, get up somewhere high, such as the third or fourth story of a building.
How many more full moons will there be in 2019?
After October’s Hunter’s Moon, it gets chilly, bringing us November’s Frost Moon and December’s Cold Moon. The Frost Moon, also called the Beaver Moon, rises on Nov. 12, 2019. Then comes the Full Cold Moon, also known as the Moon Before Yule and the Long Night Moon, which will rise on Dec. 12, 2019.