When and where to see the Wolf Moon, first full moon of 2024

The first full moon of the year, known as the Wolf Moon, first appeared on Wednesday night and will peak on Thursday.

January’s full moon will reach peak illumination at 12:54 p.m. ET on Thursday, according to NASA. It will look like a full moon until around midnight on Friday. The Old Farmer’s Almanac details specific moonrise times for different ZIP codes across the United States.

There are no special tools needed to see the full moon; NASA says all you need to do is go outside and look up at the sky. A telescope or binoculars will magnify the moon and clarify details on its surface. Check local forecasts for detailed information on how clear the night sky will be.

Full Wolf Moon In The Netherlands
The full Wolf Moon in the Netherlands lights up the winter sky. (Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

“Make sure you are ready for the cold weather and take advantage of these early sunsets to enjoy and share the wonders of the night sky,” NASA said in its skywatching guide for the month.

Where does January’s full moon get its name from?

Full moon names are based on seasons, historical crops and the behavior of animals. It’s believed that the Wolf Moon moniker for this month’s full moon came about because wolves were often heard howling in January, according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac.

January’s full moon is also known as the Center Moon because it roughly marks the middle of the cold season. Other traditional names for January’s full moon include Cold Moon, Frost Exploding Moon, Freeze Up Moon, Severe Moon and Hard Moon.

The Super Blood Wolf Moon during a total lunar eclipse, on Sunday, January 20, 2019, in Miami, Florida. (GASTON DE CARDENAS/AFP via Getty Images)

Next month’s full moon, dubbed the Snow Moon, will reach peak illumination on Feb. 24. It’s followed by the Worm Moon, which will peak on March 25.

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