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| Astronomy Essentials on Mar 16, 2014

Can you tell me the full moon names?

For both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, the full moons have names corresponding to the calendar months or the seasons of the year.

Some almanacs like to give each month a special full moon name. Other almanacs like to reference full moons relative to seasonal markers, as defined by equinoxes and solstices. Is one way better than the other? No. Both have their roots in folklore. Of course, both the monthly names and the seasonal names necessarily favor either the Northern or Southern Hemisphere. That’s because the moon has different characteristics in the two hemispheres, at opposite times of year. For example, the Harvest Moon is the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox. So it falls in September or October for the Northern Hemisphere, and it falls in March or April for the Southern Hemisphere.

Do you live by the moon? Order your EarthSky Lunar Calendar!

Here we list common full moon names – first by month (Northern and Southern Hemisphere) – and then by season (works for both hemispheres).

Full moon setting in northwest Indiana. Photo credit:  Carl Galloway

Full moon setting. Photo credit: Carl Galloway

Full moon via EarthSky Facebook friend Lee Capps

Northern Hemisphere full moon names by month:
January: Old Moon, Moon After Yule
February: Snow Moon, Hunger Moon, Wolf Moon
March: Sap Moon, Crow Moon, Lenten Moon
April: Grass Moon, Egg Moon
May: Planting Moon, Milk Moon
June: Rose Moon, Flower Moon, Strawberry Moon
July: Thunder Moon, Hay Moon
August: Green Corn Moon, Grain Moon
September: Fruit Moon, Harvest Moon
October: Harvest Moon, Hunter’s Moon
November: Hunter’s Moon, Frosty Moon, or Beaver Moon
December: Moon Before Yule, or Long Night Moon

Southern Hemisphere full moon names by month:
January: Hay Moon, Buck Moon, Thunder Moon, Mead Moon
February (mid-summer): Grain Moon, Sturgeon Moon, Red Moon, Wyrt Moon, Corn Moon, Dog Moon, Barley Moon
March: Harvest Moon, Corn Moon
April: Harvest Moon, Hunter’s Moon, Blood Moon
May: Hunter’s Moon, Beaver Moon, Frost Moon
June: Oak Moon, Cold Moon, Long Night’s Moon
July: Wolf Moon, Old Moon, Ice Moon
August: Snow Moon, Storm Moon, Hunger Moon, Wolf Moon
September: Worm Moon, Lenten Moon, Crow Moon, Sugar Moon, Chaste Moon, Sap Moon
October: Egg Moon, Fish Moon, Seed Moon, Pink Moon, Waking Moon
November: Corn Moon, Milk Moon, Flower Moon, Hare Moon
December: Strawberry Moon, Honey Moon, Rose Moon

About once every 19 years, February has no full moon at all.

Moreover, in 7 out of every 19 years, two full moons will fall in the same calendar month. The second of the month’s two full moons is popularly referred to as a Blue Moon. The next Blue Moon by this definition will happen on July 31, 2015.

January 2013 full moon from EarthSky Facebook friend Fernando Alvarenga in San Salvador.

Full moon names by season (Northern or Southern Hemisphere):
After the winter solstice:
Old Moon, or Moon After Yule
Snow Moon, Hunger Moon, or Wolf Moon
Sap Moon, Crow Moon or Lenten Moon

After the spring equinox:
Grass Moon, or Egg Moon
Planting Moon, or Milk Moon
Rose Moon, Flower Moon, or Strawberry Moon

After the summer solstice:
Thunder Moon, or Hay Moon
Green Corn Moon, or Grain Moon
Fruit Moon, or Harvest Moon

After the autumnal equinox:
Harvest Moon, or Hunter’s Moon
Hunter’s Moon, Frosty Moon, or Beaver Moon
Moon Before Yule, or Long Night Moon

There are usually three full moons in between an equinox and a solstice, or vice versa. Seven times in 19 years, four full moons fall in a single season. In that case, the third of a season’s four full moons is also called a Blue Moon. The next Blue Moon by this definition will happen on May 21, 2016.

Possible to have only two full moons in a single season?

Photo via EarthSky Facebook friend Patricia Smith Mims

Bottom line: Northern and Southern Hemisphere full moon names, listed first by month and then by season.

Read more: Understanding moon phases