When to see the Full Moon and phases


The phenomenon of a Full Moon arises when our planet, Earth, is precisely sandwiched between the Sun and the Moon. This alignment ensures the entire side of the Moon that faces us gleams under sunlight. Thanks to the Moon’s orbit around Earth, the angle of sunlight hitting the lunar surface and being reflected back to our planet changes. That creates different lunar phases.

The next Full Moon in 2024 is at 9:08 pm. ET on Friday, June 21, and is called the Strawberry Moon.

We’ll update this article multiple times each week with the latest moonrise, moonset, Full Moon schedule, and some of what you can see in the sky each week.

Here’s the complete list of Full Moons this year and their traditional names.

2024 Full Moon schedule and names of each

(all times Eastern)

  • Jan. 25 — 12:54 p.m. — Wolf Moon
  • Feb. 24 —7:30 a.m. — Snow Moon
  • March 25 — 3 a.m. — Worm Moon
  • April 23 — 7:49 p.m. — Pink Moon
  • May 23 — 9:53 a.m. — Flower Moon
  • Friday, June 21 — 9:08 p.m. — Strawberry Moon
  • Sunday, July 21 — 6:17 a.m. — Buck Moon
  • Monday, Aug. 19 — 2:26 p.m. — Sturgeon Moon
  • Tuesday, Sept. 17 — 10:34 p.m. — Corn Moon
  • Thursday, Oct. 17 — 7:26 a.m. — Hunter’s Moon
  • Friday, Nov. 15 — 4:28 p.m. — Beaver Moon
  • Sunday, Dec. 15 — 4:02 a.m. — Cold Moon

The phases of the Moon in May 2024

The images below show the day-by-day phases of the Moon this month. The Full Moon in May was at 9:53 a.m. ET on Thursday, May 23, and is called the Flower Moon.

These images show the day-by-day phases of the moon this month. The Full Moon in May is at 9:53 a.m. ET on Thursday, May 23, and is called the Flower moon.

The moonrise and moonset schedule this week

The following is adapted from Alison Klesman’s The Sky This Week article, which you can find here.

*Times for sunrise, sunset, moonrise, and moonset are given in local time from 40° N 90° W. The Moon’s illumination is given at 12 P.M. local time from the same location.

Wednesday, May 29
The ringed planet Saturn is one of the highlights of the early-morning sky, and this morning the gas giant’s moons are putting on a show. Use your telescope to home in on the outer solar system world, glowing at magnitude 1 in eastern Aquarius.

The planet’s tilt with respect to Earth is now just over 2°. In addition to rendering the rings quite thin, it also places the orbital plane of the planet’s moons such that occultations and transits are common. This morning, many observers in the U.S. can see one such transit as Saturn’s brightest moon, Titan, crosses in front of the ringed world’s southern pole.

Those on the East Coast and in the Midwest will certainly be able to see the bright, 8th-magnitude moon approaching the planet from the east. Titan crosses onto Saturn’s disk around 5 A.M. CDT, just half an hour before sunrise in the Midwest and when the Sun is already up for those farther east. The moon takes more than three hours to cross, slipping off the disk long after sunrise has occurred even in the western U.S.

There’s an added bonus to the scene, though: Iapetus is also currently close to Saturn, sitting roughly 1′ southeast of the planet’s center. Iapetus orbits every 79 days, so spends a lot of time far from the planet. Its magnitude is also ever-changing, as it rotates between its brighter and darker hemispheres. It is now roughly magnitude 11, about halfway between its brightest and faintest magnitudes of 10 and 12, respectively.

Sunrise: 5:35 A.M.
Sunset: 8:20 P.M.
Moonrise: 1:11 A.M.
Moonset: 11:26 A.M.
Moon Phase: Waning gibbous (62%)

Thursday, May 30
Last Quarter Moon occurs this afternoon at 1:13 P.M. EDT.

Sunrise: 5:34 A.M.
Sunset: 8:22 P.M.
Moonrise: 1:40 A.M.
Moonset: 12:39 P.M.
Moon Phase: Last Quarter

Friday, May 31
The Moon has a busy day today, passing 0.4° south of Saturn at 4 A.M. EDT before skimming 0.02° south of Neptune at 11 P.M. EDT.

Both planets are in the pre-dawn sky, so head outside an hour before sunrise to catch our satellite now just below (if you’re on the East Coast) or to the lower left of (for observers in the Midwest and farther west) Saturn in Aquarius. The Moon is a delicate waning crescent whose light shouldn’t interfere too much with spotting the ringed world.

By 4:30 A.M. CDT, Luna is 1.5° southeast of Saturn and just over 10° southwest of Neptune. The latter planet, at magnitude 7.8, will certainly require binoculars or a telescope to spot. Do so earlier rather than later, as the sky will only grow lighter with the encroaching dawn, washing the planet from view. Neptune is now 2.8 billion miles (4.5 billion km) from Earth, its disk spanning just 2″ and appearing more as a small, dim, “flat” star in the field.

Saturn is huge and detailed by comparison, with its disk 17″ across and its rings roughly 40″ from end to end. That narrow tilt relative to the moons’ orbital plane is again on display this morning, as Titan lies nearly 2′ due west of the planet, in line with the rings. Nearer to the world, 10th-magnitude Rhea, Tethys, and Dione are also in line, with the former two to the east and the latter to the west. Large scopes or video capture may be able to pick up even fainter Mimas a just off the eastern tip of the rings, or perhaps even Enceladus, transiting the disk just south of the rings and accompanied its shadow between about 4 A.M. EDT and 4:40 A.M. MDT (note the time change as sunrise occurs in the eastern two U.S. time zones while the tiny moon is transiting).

Sunrise: 5:34 A.M.
Sunset: 8:22 P.M.
Moonrise: 2:06 A.M.
Moonset: 1:52 P.M.
Moon Phase: Waning crescent (39%)

The phases of the Moon

The phases of the Moon are: New Moon, waxing crescent, First Quarter, waxing gibbous, Full Moon, waning gibbous, Last Quarter, and waning crescent. A cycle starting from one Full Moon to its next counterpart, termed the synodic month or lunar month, lasts about 29.5 days.

Though a Full Moon only occurs during the exact moment when Earth, Moon, and Sun form a perfect alignment, to our eyes, the Moon seems Full for around three days.

Different names for different types of Full Moon

There are a wide variety of specialized names used to identify distinct types or timings of Full Moons. These names primarily trace back to a blend of cultural, agricultural, and natural observations about the Moon, aimed at allowing humans to not only predict seasonal changes, but also track the passage of time. 

For instance, almost every month’s Full Moon boasts a name sourced from Native American, Colonial American, or other North American traditions, with their titles mirroring seasonal shifts and nature’s events.

Wolf Moon (January): Inspired by the cries of hungry wolves.

Snow Moon (February): A nod to the month’s often heavy snowfall.

Worm Moon (March): Named after the earthworms that signal thawing grounds.

Pink Moon (April): In honor of the blossoming pink wildflowers.

Flower Moon (May): Celebrating the bloom of flowers.

Strawberry Moon (June): Marks the prime strawberry harvest season.

Buck Moon (July): Recognizing the new antlers on bucks.

Sturgeon Moon (August): Named after the abundant sturgeon fish.

Corn Moon (September): Signifying the corn harvesting period.

Hunter’s Moon (October): Commemorating the hunting season preceding winter.

Beaver Moon (November): Reflects the time when beavers are busy building their winter dams.

Cold Moon (December): Evocative of winter’s chill.

In addition, there are a few additional names for Full Moons that commonly make their way into public conversations and news.

Super Moon: This term is reserved for a Full Moon that aligns with the lunar perigee, which is the Moon’s nearest point to Earth in its orbit. This proximity renders the Full Moon unusually large and luminous. For a Full Moon to earn the Super Moon tag, it should be within approximately 90 percent of its closest distance to Earth.

Blue Moon: A Blue Moon is the second Full Moon in a month that experiences two Full Moons. This phenomenon graces our skies roughly every 2.7 years. Though the term suggests a color, Blue Moons aren’t truly blue. Very occasionally, atmospheric conditions such as recent volcanic eruptions might lend the Moon a slightly blueish tint, but this hue isn’t tied to the term.

Harvest Moon: Occurring closest to the autumnal equinox, typically in September, the Harvest Moon is often renowned for a distinct orange tint it might display. This Full Moon rises close to sunset and sets near sunrise, providing extended hours of bright moonlight. Historically, this was invaluable to farmers gathering their produce.

Common questions about Full Moons

Moonrise over the Syr Darya river in Baikonur, Kazakhstan on Nov. 13, 2016. Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

What is the difference between a Full Moon and a New Moon? A Full Moon is witnessed when Earth lies between the Sun and the Moon, making the entire Moon’s face visible. Conversely, during a New Moon, the Moon lies between Earth and the Sun, shrouding its Earth-facing side in darkness.

How does the Full Moon influence tides? The Moon’s gravitational tug causes Earth’s waters to bulge, birthing tides. During both Full and New Moons, the Sun, Earth, and Moon are in alignment, generating “spring tides.” These tides can swing exceptionally high or low due to the combined gravitational influences of the Sun and Moon.

Do Full Moons have an impact on human behavior? While numerous tales suggest Full Moons stir human behavior, causing increased restlessness or even lunacy, rigorous scientific analyses have largely debunked these tales.

Full Moons, in their myriad forms, stand testament to humanity’s enduring captivation with the cosmos. They evoke not just our celestial connection but also tether us to Earth’s rhythms. Whether you’re an avid stargazer or an occasional night sky admirer, Full Moons invariably call for our attention, inviting both introspection and marvel.

Here are the dates for all the lunar phases in 2024:

New First Quarter Full Last Quarter
Jan. 3
Jan. 11 Jan. 17 Jan. 25 Feb. 2
Feb. 9 Feb. 16 Feb. 24 March 3
March 10 March 17 March 25 April 1
April 8 April 15 April 23 May 1
May 7 May 15 May 23 May 30
June 6 June 14 June 21 June 28
July 5 July 13 July 21 July 27
Aug. 4 Aug. 12 Aug. 19 Aug 26
Sept. 2 Sept. 11 Sept. 17 Sept. 24
Oct. 2 Oct. 10 Oct. 17 Oct. 24
Nov. 1 Nov. 9 Nov. 15 Nov. 22
Dec. 1 Dec. 8 Dec. 15 Dec. 22
Dec. 30

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