In January, the moon will make a close approach to several planets both before and after it enters its new phase on Jan. 24, offering some fine photo opportunities in a bright winter sky.
The moon's phases are caused by changes in the amount of illumination from the moon that is visible from the Earth's surface as the moon orbits our planet each month. There are eight distinct phases every month, four of them occurring roughly a week apart. They are: the New Moon; Waxng Crescent; First Quarter (or half-full; Waxing Gibbous; Full Moon; Waning Gibbous; Last Quarter (half-full on other side); Waning Crescent. You can read definitions for these moon phases here. When the moon is full and at its closest point to the Earth in it's orbit, it is known as a "Supermoon." Lunar eclipses occur during full moons, when the moon passes through all or part of Earth's shadow. During New Moons, the moon can cover part or all of the sun's disk, creating a solar eclipse. Learn more about the moon's phases here.
Related Topics: The Moon
Here is a list of all the full moon names, dates and times in 2020, beginning with the "Wolf Moon" in January, to the "Cold Moon" in December.
The full moon of January, called the Wolf Moon, will occur on Jan. 10 at 2:21 p.m. EST (1921 GMT), and it will coincide with a lunar eclipse for skywatchers in much of the world.
On Saturday evening (Dec. 28), a lovely crescent moon will join Venus in the twilight sky, making for an eye-catching post-Christmas celestial ornament.
The full moon of December, called the Full Cold Moon, will arrive on Dec. 12, and as it rises it will be joined in the sky by the planets Venus and Saturn.
The full moon of November, called the Beaver Moon, will shine in the constellation Aries on Nov. 12, the same day as the peak of the Northern Taurid meteor shower.
The full moon of October, called the Hunter's Moon, will grace the skies Oct. 13, as the smallest full moon of the year. Don't miss Jupiter and Saturn, too!
The full moon of September 2019 also carries the title of the Harvest Moon for those living in the Northern Hemisphere.
The full "Harvest Moon" occurs Sept. 14, at 12:33 a.m. EDT (0433 GMT), a day after it reaches apogee, the farthest point from Earth in its orbit.
Just before dawn today (Aug. 21), skywatchers will be able to spot both Uranus and the waning gibbous moon.
The full moon of August will be in the night sky on Thursday (Aug. 15), arriving just one day after the peak of the annual Perseid meteor shower and three nights after making a close pass to Saturn.
Wednesday's sky (July 31) is host to a somewhat unusual lunar event in the Western Hemisphere: a second new moon in a single month, which some people call a "Black Moon."
The moon was at the tail end of a partial lunar eclipse when it rose above the Andean horizon on Tuesday (July 16).
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