June 25, 2021

Soldering Point

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There’s a chance to glimpse a full moon once a month. (Picture: WIktor Szymanowicz/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The full moon this week will be a ‘blood’ supermoon and is the second supermoon to light up the skies this year.

Unfortunately, the last supermoon in April was difficult to spot because of cloudy skies.

However, this month’s full moon, which is due to occur on Wednesday, May 26, should be easier to see as the Met Office forecast says the weather will be ‘drier than of late with more sunshine for many.’

But how long will you get to see this month’s ‘super’ full moon and if you miss it, when is the next one?

How long does a full moon last and how often do they occur?

A full moon only lasts for one night, but because our annual calendar isn’t quite in line with the moon’s phases, sometimes we get more than one full moon in a month.

The Royal Museums Greenwich explains: ‘A full moon happens roughly every 29.5 days. This is the length of time it takes for the Moon to go through one whole lunar phase cycle.’

The full moon sets behind Stonehenge on April 27, 2021.
April’s full moon was a pink supermoon that shone 30% brighter than a normal full moon. (Picture: Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images)

‘A month was originally defined to be either 29 or 30 days, roughly equal to the 29.5-day lunar cycle. However, some of our calendar months were later padded out with extra days, in order that 12 months would make up one complete 365-day solar year.’

Supermoons occur less regularly than full moons. There were two supermoons forecast this year, in April and May 2021.

A full moon occurs when the Moon is on the opposite side of the Earth to the Sun, so the near side of the Moon will be fully lit up.

However, a supermoon can only occur when the Moon is at its closest point along its orbit to the Earth at the same time as a full moon.

A full moon seen over a forest.
A supermoon is much rarer than a full moon (Picture: Getty)

How many full moons are there every year?

There are 12 full moons every year – roughly one a month because of the lunar phase cycle.

The full moon calendar for 2021 is:

  • 28 January – Wolf Moon
  • 27 February – Snow Moon
  • 28 March – Worm Moon
  • 27 April – Pink Moon
  • 26 May – Flower Moon
  • 24 June – Strawberry Moon
  • 24 July – Buck Moon
  • 22 August – Sturgeon Moon
  • 21 September – Corn/Harvest Moon
  • 20 October – Hunter’s Moon
  • 19 November – Beaver Moon
  • 19 December – Cold Moon


MORE : Nasa shows off next generation ‘Lunar Gateway’ space station that will orbit the moon

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