Full Moon


Chapin, United States

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A full moon is the lunar phase that occurs when the Moon is completely illuminated as seen from Earth. This occurs when Earth is located directly between the Sun and the Moon (more exactly, when the ecliptic longitudes of the Sun and Moon differ by 180 degrees). This means that the hemisphere of the Moon that is facing Earth (the near side) is almost fully illuminated by the Sun and appears round (while the far side is almost completely unlit). When the full moon moves into Earth’s shadow, a lunar eclipse occurs, and all or part of the Moon’s face may appear reddish due to the Rayleigh scattering of blue light in Earth’s atmosphere.345
Lunar eclipses can occur only at full moon, where the Moon’s orbit allows it to pass through Earth’s shadow. Lunar eclipses do not occur every month because the Moon usually passes above or below Earth’s shadow, which is mostly restricted to the ecliptic plane. Lunar eclipses can occur only when the full moon occurs near the two nodes of the orbit, either the ascending or descending node. This causes eclipses to only occur about every 6 months, and often 2 weeks before or after a solar eclipse at new moon at the opposite node.
The time interval between similar lunar phases—the synodic month—averages about 29.53 days. Therefore, in those lunar calendars in which each month begins on the new moon, the full moon falls on either the 14th or 15th of the lunar month. Because calendar months have a whole number of days, lunar months may be either 29 or 30 days long.
A full moon is often thought of as an event of a full night’s duration. This is somewhat misleading because its phase seen from Earth continuously waxes or wanes (though much too slowly to notice in real time with the naked eye). Its maximum illumination occurs at the moment waxing has stopped. For any given location, about half of these maximum full moons may be visible, while the other half occurs during the day, when the full moon is below the horizon.
Many almanacs list full moons not only by date, but also by their exact time, usually in Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). Typical monthly calendars that include lunar phases may be offset by one day when used in a different time zone.
Full moon is generally a suboptimal time to conduct astronomical observations because the bright sunlight reflected by the Moon then outshines the apparently dimmer stars.
On 12 December 2008, the full moon occurred closer to the Earth than it had been at any time for the previous 15 years, called a supermoon.6
On 19 March 2011, another full supermoon occurred, closer to the Earth than at any time for the previous 18 years.7
On 14 November 2016, a full supermoon occurred closer to the Earth than at any time for the previous 68 years. Wikipedia

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