Clear skies this evening will mean you get a chance to see November’s full moon shining above the UK.
Known as either the ‘Beaver Moon’ or ‘Frost Moon’, it hit its peak in the early this morning at around 9.30am. But, it will still be visible for the next few nights.
The moon will appear full for about three days around this time, from Saturday night through Tuesday morning, according to Nasa
If you want to catch a glimpse of it for yourself, the process couldn’t be simpler.
Just wrap up warm, head outside after nightfall and look up.
Why is it called the Beaver Moon?
Full moons are often revered in Native American culture as they gave each full moon a unique name, and we still use those names today.
The Frost Moon, in particular, was called this because of the frost that begins to form each night at this time of the year.
The fact that this cycle of the full moon is also known as the Beaver Moon means that there are two interpretations for the naming.
One suggestion is that the Native Americans would be laying beaver traps during November, another suggestion is that the name comes from the fact that beavers would be hard at work building their dams at this time.
The Algonquin Native American tribes and the American colonists called the full moon in November the Beaver Moon as this was the time they would be setting up beaver traps before the swamps froze, to ensure a supply of warm winter furs.
How does a moon phase work?
The moon travels once around the Earth every 27.3 days, and it takes about 27 days for the moon to rotate on its axis.
The new moon signals that the moon is between the Earth and the sun, the side of the sun that is facing towards Earth receives no direct sunlight, it is only lit by the sunlight reflected from Earth.
The moon moves and we gradually see more of the moon illuminated by direct sunlight. A week after the new moon is the first quarter and the moon will be half-illuminated from our point of view.
From then on more and more of the sun becomes illuminated, when the moon has moved 180 degrees from its new moon position, the earth, sun and moon form a line.
The moon’s disk is then as close as it can be to being fully illuminated by the sun and this is the full moon. After that, the full moon moves to the third quarter position and the sun’s light is now shining on the other half of the visible face of the moon.
As less and less of the moon is illuminated it moves into the next phase when it will start at the new moon position. Since the moon’s orbit is not exactly in the same plane as Earth’s orbit around the sun they are rarely perfectly aligned, when the moon does pass right in front of the sun we get an eclipse.
What is a Blue Moon?
A Blue Moon is when there is an additional full moon within a given period, as a moon phase is general 29.5 days there is rarely two full moons within a month, but February will never have a Blue Moon.
It can be thought of as the second full moon within a typical calendar month.
There is also the interpretation that the Blue Moon is the third full moon in a season that has four full moons. We recently had a Blue Moon back in October.