You don’t need a telescope, binoculars, or even a dark sky to look at the moon, which next week, on Wednesday, will rise at dusk, shine brightly all night, and set at dawn. However, although October’s full Travel Moon will be a glorious sight on October 24, one of the best times to observe the moon is a few days beforehand.
“International Observe the Moon Night” is Saturday, October 20, and more than 500 events are being organized to get moon-watchers to gaze in groups at the second full moon of fall. It’s an annual celebration of the moon, its science and exploration, that started in 2010. Promoted by NASA, it’s an invite to everyone on Earth to observe the moon together.
This year, the event has a special meaning because December will mark the 50th anniversary of NASA’s Apollo 8 mission, the first manned spacecraft to leave the Earth’s orbit, and its crew were the first humans to visit the moon. As they flew around the moon one of the astronauts, Bill Anders, took the famous Earthrise image.
When to See the Full Moon October 2018
“Observe The Moon Night” takes place on Saturday, and the moon will be at first quarter and easily visible at dusk. Just a few days later on Wednesday, is the October full moon.
This month’s full moon was given three different names by Native American tribes: the Travel Moon, Hunter’s Moon, and Dying Grass Moon, according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, while also getting the names Blood Moon and Sanguine Moon. All of these names are connected to the time of year when pre-winter hunting and finding somewhere to shelter in the cold winter months was of paramount importance.
The full Travel Moon will be completely illuminated by the sun as seen from Earth on Wednesday, October 24, 2018 at 12:45 p.m. ET, but of course, it won’t be visible from North America at that moment because it will be daylight.
This month you’ll have two chances to get a great view of the full moon. A full moon is special because it’s the only night of the month when the moon is in the sky all night long. However, as soon as it’s high in the sky, it’s too bright to look at. You could try sunglasses (really), but a wiser tactic is to view the Travel Moon when it’s a pale orange color on the eastern horizon at dusk. So look east at dusk (around 6:30 p.m. on the East Coast) on Wednesday, October 24, and you’ll see a 99.5%-lit moon. On Thursday, October 25, the moon will also be 99.5% illuminated, this time rising in the east at around 7 p.m, just after dusk. Try to get up somewhere reasonably high where you can see the eastern horizon for the best view.
When to See the Next Full Moon
The next full moon will be on Friday, November 23, 2018. It’s known in North America as the Frost Moon because of the dropping temperatures in North America, and also as the Beaver Moon because the animals spend this month building their dams.
However, the next moon event to get really excited about is the Super Wolf Blood Moon Eclipse on Sunday, Jan. 20, 2019. A total lunar eclipse across North and South America will make the full moon turn a dramatic copper-orange-red color for just over an hour. You won’t want to miss it.