How to See the Wolf Moon, the First Full Moon of the Year

As if 2021 needed a lunar excuse to get even weirder.

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A full moon shines in the sky

As if the early days of 2021 needed an excuse to get even more bizarre, the first full moon of the year is on its way — and the name of the moon alone is enough to shock fear in the hearts of man. But when is the first full moon of the year, and what will it be called?

The first full moon won’t be for about another two weeks — capping off an already-eventful January for the Earthbound among us. On Thursday, January 28, the so-called “wolf moon” will become completely full. The exact moment of fullness, when the moon is precisely 180 degrees from the sun in ecliptic longitude (in layman’s terms, directly opposite the sun) will come on Thursday, January 28, at 2:16 p.m. EST. It will obviously be difficult to see in the U.S. at that time due to, you know, the power of the sun, but it’ll still be 99-point-something percent full that evening, probably indistinguishable to the naked, novice eye.

According to the Farmer’s Almanac, January’s full moon is known as the Cold Moon, Freeze Moon, Frost Exploding Moon (What?!), and Canda Goose Moon, among other less interesting names. But it’s primarily known as the Wolf Moon because the howling of wolves was heard during this time of year.

Committed moon gazers might recall that the Wolf Moon two years ago coincided with the moon coming as close to the Earth as it ever does and a lunar eclipse, turning it an eerie shade of red. These coincidences earned that moon the moniker “super wolf blood moon,” which sounds like a B-move from the ’50s.

This time around, we’re getting a regular full moon, but if cold weather, the pandemic, or some combination of the two has kept you cooped up during 2021, it’s a golden opportunity to get outside (safely of course) and enjoy the celestial sights. After all, it’ll be a full month before the Snow Moon appears on February 27.

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