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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 (opens in new tab).

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, Ph.D., is a contributing writer for Space.com (opens in new tab) since 2012. As a proud Trekkie and Canadian, she tackles topics like spaceflight, diversity, science fiction, astronomy and gaming to help others explore the universe. Elizabeth's on-site reporting includes two human spaceflight launches from Kazakhstan, and embedded reporting from a simulated Mars mission in Utah. She holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc (opens in new tab). in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, and a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University. Her latest book, NASA Leadership Moments, is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday.