In order to appear full to us on Earth, the moon has to be opposite the sun in our sky. That’s why every full moon rises in the east around sunset and climbs highest up for the night midway between sunset and sunrise (around midnight). Sunday night’s moon is not quite full. You’ll find it ascending in the east as the sun sets in the west. The May 2018 full moon comes officially on May 29, but for some – those far to the west in the world’s time zones (western North America or islands in the Pacific) – the moon is closer to full on the night of May 28.
On both of those nights, the moon will set closer to the time of sunrise. It’ll appear quite full and shine almost all night long.
And – for all of us around the globe – the bright object near the moon now is the largest planet in our solar system, Jupiter.
Technically speaking, the moon is full at the instant it’s 180 degrees from the sun in ecliptic longitude. That official moment of full moon happens on May 29, 2018, at 14:20 UTC. At North American and U.S. time zones, that translates to 11:20 a.m. ADT, 10:20 a.m. EDT, 9:20 a.m. CDT, 8:20 a.m. MDT, 7:20 a.m. PDT, 6:20 a.m. Alaskan Time and 4:20 a.m. Hawaiian Time … in other words, midday or very early morning on May 29. Translate UTC to your time.
Hawaii and Alaska’s far-southwestern Aleutian Islands will be the only places in the U.S. that will be able to view the moon at the exact instant it turns full in May 2018. For these places, the full moon will sit low in the west before sunrise on May 29.
Meanwhile, in the world’s Eastern Hemisphere – Asia, Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand – the moon will reach that full moon instant after sunset May 29 (night of May 29-30). In New Zealand and along the east coast of Australia, the moon will reach it after midnight May 30.
Want to know the instant of full moon in your part of the world, as well as the moonrise and moonset times? Click here, remembering to check the moon phases plus moonrise and moonset boxes.
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.