Full moon: NASA scientist explains why moon appears ‘brighter’

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The Flower Moon on May 26 marks the fifth Full Moon of the year. So far this year, we have been treated to the Wolf Moon, the Snow Moon, the Worm Moon, and the Pink Moon.

How many Full Moons are there in a year?

The logical assumption would be that there are 12 Full Moons in a year, with one coming every month.

However, as with most things astronomical, that would be too simple an explanation.

The amount of Full Moons in a year varies each time around.

While this year there will be 12 Full Moons, sometimes we can be treated to 13 in a year.

This is because the Moon takes 29.5 days to complete a cycle and reappear in the skies as a Full Moon.

As such, on occasion a calendar month can experience two Full Moons.

The second Full Moon in a month is called a Blue Moon.

The last Blue Moon came on October 31 last year, with the prior Full Moon coming on October 1.

Despite what the name suggests, the Blue Moon is not actually blue.

The lunar satellite will remain white but gets its name because it is the second full Moon of the month.

According to NASA, the term Blue Moon has volcanic roots.

The space agency said: “The term Blue Moon is believed to have originated in 1883 after the eruption of Krakatoa.

“The volcano put so much dust in the atmosphere that the Moon actually looked blue in colour.

“This was so unusual that the term ‘once in a Blue Moon’ was coined.”

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We will have to wait until August 31, 2023 to see another Blue Moon.

According to NASA, this Moon “will appear full for about three days around this time, from Monday evening through Thursday morning.”

The space agency added: “As the full Moon closest to the winter solstice, this is the Long Night Moon.

“The plane of the Moon’s orbit around the Earth nearly matches the plane of the Earth’s orbit around the Sun.

“When the path of the Sun appears lowest in the sky for the year, the path of the Full Moon opposite the Sun appears highest in the sky.”

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