October's full 'Hunter's moon' of 2021 wows skywatchers (photos)

The nearly full Hunter's Moon rises from The Observatory at America’s Square in Washington, on Oct. 19, 2021.
The nearly full Hunter's Moon rises from The Observatory at America’s Square in Washington, on Oct. 19, 2021. (Image credit: Aubrey Gemignani/NASA)

The full moon of Wednesday (Oct. 21), known by many as the "Hunter's Moon," provided a celestial treat for skywatchers around the world.

Full moons occur when the orbit of the moon, relative to the Earth, swings around into a position where full sunlight falls upon the planet-facing side. A full moon happens roughly every 29.5 Earth days, and on rarer occasions, the sun, moon and Earth align and allow for a lunar eclipse as the Earth's shadow passes across the moon's face.

Here are some of the images that caught our attention.

Related: How to see Uranus near the full Hunter's Moon this week

The full Hunter's Moon rises over Crimea, on Oct. 20, 2021/ (Image credit: Sergei Malgavko/TASS/Getty)

In Crimea — a region that caused an international flap between NASA and Roscosmos in 2014 — state agency and TASS photographer Sergei Malgavko captured the full moon rising near Simferopol, an administrative and transport hub of the region.

The full moon is seen in Buenos Aires on Oct. 20, 2021. (Image credit: Juan Mabromata/AFP/Getty)

From Buenos Aires, Agence France-Presse (AFP) photographer Juan Mabromata got an incredible close-up of the full moon on Wednesday. You can even see the ridges of some craters at the upper-left of the image.

The full Hunter's Moon rises behind the Chrysler building in Manhattan, on Oct. 20, 2021.  (Image credit: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency/Getty)

In New York City, photographer Tayfun Coskun (via Anadolu Agency) caught Manhattan's famed Chrysler Building slicing the full moon in half.

NASA photographer Aubrey Gemignani captured a series of images of the nearly full moon rising from The Observatory at America's Square in Washington, D.C., nearby the agency's headquarters. One image shows the moon in the background of a flock of birds. You can see the moon over the lights of cars, while another image zooms in on the moon over a couple of buildings. 

The earliest known use of the term "Hunter's Moon" was in 1710, but it is only one name of many used to refer to the full moon of October, according to NASA, which has a list of other cultures' monikers in its full moon guide.

Related: Full moon names (and more) for 2021

The full Hunter's Moon coincided with the peak of the Orionid meteor shower this week, which most sources agree took place around Wednesday (Oct. 20). You may still catch a lot of meteors off-peak, but the bright moon will likely wash out the expected maximum rate of 10 to 20 meteors an hour. 

Editor's note: If you snap an amazing photo of the full moon or any other night-sky sight and you'd like to share it with Space.com for a story or image gallery, send images, comments and location information spacephotos@space.com.

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Elizabeth Howell
Staff Writer, Spaceflight

Elizabeth Howell (she/her), Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022 covering diversity, education and gaming as well. She was contributing writer for Space.com for 10 years before joining full-time. Elizabeth's reporting includes multiple exclusives with the White House and Office of the Vice-President of the United States, an exclusive conversation with aspiring space tourist (and NSYNC bassist) Lance Bass, speaking several times with the International Space Station, witnessing five human spaceflight launches on two continents, flying parabolic, working inside a spacesuit, and participating in a simulated Mars mission. Her latest book, "Why Am I Taller?", is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University and a Bachelor of History from Canada's Athabasca University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science at several institutions since 2015; her experience includes developing and teaching an astronomy course at Canada's Algonquin College (with Indigenous content as well) to more than 1,000 students since 2020. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday. Mastodon: https://qoto.org/@howellspace