The October full moon is almost upon us. Famously known as the “Hunter’s Moon,” the full moon of October goes by many names — most of them dating back hundreds of years, to the Native Americans.
Adopted by early American folklore, these names usually tied the full moon to various seasonal activities, notes The Old Farmer’s Almanac. For instance, some Native American tribes called it the “Travel Moon” and the “Dying Grass Moon.”
The Ojibwe people referred to the October full moon as the “Freezing Moon,” because October is when the first frost usually occurs. Meanwhile, the Cree people called it the “Migrating Moon,” to show that this is the time of year when birds head south for the winter.
But to the Algonquin tribe, the full moon of October was always known as the “Hunter’s Moon” — a name that announces the start of the hunting season.
As The Old Farmer’s Almanac points out, the rise of the “Hunter’s Moon” meant that it was “time to go hunting in preparation for winter. Since the harvesters have reaped the fields, hunters can easily see the fattened deer and other animals that have come out to glean (and the foxes that have come out to prey on them).”
The earliest record of this name dates back to 1710, according to the Oxford English Dictionary.
“Some sources suggest that other names for the ‘Hunter’s Moon’ are the ‘Sanguine’ or ‘Blood Moon,’ either associated with the blood from hunting or the turning of the leaves in autumn,” explains the Almanac.
The remarkable thing about the “Hunter’s Moon” is that it has become a longstanding astronomical term — similar to the “Harvest Moon” of September. This term is always given to the first full moon after the autumn equinox, which falls on September 22 — whereas the “Hunter’s Moon” is the very next full moon.
Another noteworthy thing about the “Hunter’s Moon” is that it usually rises after sunset and sets at sunrise, which makes tonight the only night of the month when the moon might linger in the sky all night long.
“Because the ‘Hunter’s Moon’ rises around sunset near the horizon, it may appear bigger and more orange than your typical moon,” states the Almanac. “However, this is just the ‘Moon Illusion,'” which makes the low moon seem enormous in contrast to the outline of earthly objects, such as buildings and trees.
The “Hunter’s Moon” will grace us with its presence around midday today — officially becoming full at 11:45 a.m. EDT, reports Space. However, the best views of the October full moon are to be expected after dark — when the glowing orb of the moon can be seen lighting up the sky in a memorable display.
According to NASA, the October full moon can be seen in the sky as early as 12:45 p.m. EDT, when it will appear opposite the sun.
“The moon will appear full for about three days centered around this time, from Tuesday morning through Thursday night,” the space agency explained in a blog post.
Later tonight, the “Hunter’s Moon” will be joined in the sky by the planet Uranus — which just reached opposition, as the Inquisitr previously reported. This means that Uranus is perfectly aligned with the Earth and the sun — both positioned on opposite sides of our planet.
While Uranus will put on its best show of the entire year, looking brighter and bigger than ever, the dazzling “Hunter’s Moon” is bound to outshine the planet — particularly since they’ll only be about 8 degrees apart on the sky. Therefore, your best chance of catching a glimpse of Uranus is through a telescope.