FEW names are quite as evocative of past centuries as the names given to each full moon of the year by different civilisations around the world.
Anne Rixon‘s stunning shot of this month’s Wolf Moon perfectly captures the timeless appeal of that striking vision when the moon shows its “face” to the earth.
Wolf moons and snow moons, blood moons and strawberry moons, harvest moons and worm moons…long before calendars were invented, ancient societies kept track of the months and seasons by studying the moon.
For millennia, mankind has been fascinated by the night sky, all the more vividly lit up in centuries before light pollution from cities and the movements of aircraft and satellites.
The full moon happens about once every 27 days when the moon and the sun are on exactly opposite sides of Earth. The moon looks illuminated because we see the sun’s light reflected from it.
The Old Farmer’s Almanac explains variations in the names, comparing those of Native American tribes with names imported by colonial settlers.
The term ‘wolf moon’ is thought to have been coined by Native Americans because of how wolves would howl outside villages during the winter. Different tribes may have had other names for it around the world – spirit moon, goose moon or even bear-hunting moon, for example.
The space.com website explains the phases of the moon, and 2022 dates for catching the full moon in the northern hemisphere.
These days, such near-monthly events are popular with photographers hoping for clear skies so that they can stake out some of the country’s most iconic backdrops, like Stonehenge and Glastonbury Tor.
Next month’s full moon – the chilly-sounding February “snow moon” – is due to appear on February 16 around 5pm GMT.