While the weather reports this week for D.C. have been indicating that there will be rain this Thursday, those same reports are suggesting that on Thursday evening there is roughly a 50% chance the rain will subside and the skies may clear for a few hours. That being the case, it would be the perfect opportunity to witness the year’s very first full moon! Also known as the Wolf Moon, the January lunar event is expected to reach peak illumination at 12:54 p.m. EST.
Now, considering that the peak illumination time falls directly in the middle of the day and during D.C.’s expected rain storm on Thursday, it’s worth noting that the moon will appear just as full and bright on Thursday evening. Not to mention that the moon will be nearly full on Wednesday night as well, so there’s a chance you can spot it before Thursday’s rain clouds start to roll in!
January tends to be the month where it is most common to hear wolves howling—which is why this month’s moon has been dubbed the “Wolf Moon”. This common vocalization during wintertime helps these animals locate pack members, strengthen social bonds, define their territory, and even coordinate hunting. Other traditional names for the January moon include Cold Moon, Frost Exploding Moon, Freeze Up Moon, and Severe Moon!
A full moon occurs when the sun illuminates the moon, making it look as if it is ‘full’ from the perspective of Earth. This typically occurs about once a month, but on the rare occasion that it happens twice in a single month, that is referred to as a “Blue Moon”. The next full moon of the year after Thursday night won’t occur until February 24th, which is known as the Snow Moon.