Every full moon is (more or less) opposite the sun from Earth. It rises in the east as the sun sets in the west, ascends to its highest point in the sky in the middle of the night, and sets in the west around dawn. The March 1-2, 2018 full moon is the first of two full moons this month. The second one – on March 31 – will be a Blue Moon.
The moon is said to be precisely full at the exact moment that it’s opposite the sun in ecliptic or celestial longitude. This full moon instant comes on March 2, 2018, at 00:51 Universal Time. For North America and Hawaii, that means the moon turns precisely full this evening – on March 1, 2018 – at 8:51 p.m. AST, 7:51 p.m. EST, 6:51 p.m. CST, 5:51 p.m. MST, 4:51 p.m. PST, 3:51 p.m AKST and 2:51 p.m. HST.
It’s the Northern Hemisphere’s last full moon of winter and Southern Hemisphere’s last full moon of summer.
The second of the two March 2018 full moons – March 31, 2018 – will be the first full moon of spring for the Northern Hemisphere and first full moon of autumn for the Southern Hemisphere.
In most years, the Christian celebration of Easter happens on the first Sunday after the first full moon of a Northern Hemisphere spring. Sure enough, Easter will come on Sunday, April 1, 2018, the day after the full moon on Saturday, March 31, 2018.
For the Southern Hemisphere, the Blue Moon – the the second full moon of March 2018 – will also be their Harvest Moon, the closest full moon to the autumn equinox.
As the moon orbits Earth, it changes phase in an orderly way. Follow these links to understand the various phases of the moon.
Where’s the moon? Waxing crescent
Where’s the moon? First quarter
Where’s the moon? Waxing gibbous
What’s special about a full moon?
Where’s the moon? Waning gibbous
Where’s the moon? Last quarter
Where’s the moon? Waning crescent
Where’s the moon? New phase
Bottom line: A full moon looks full because it’s opposite Earth from the sun, showing us its fully lighted hemisphere or day side. The March 1-2, 2018 full moon is the first of two full moons this month.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.