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This might be a silly question, but what is the official name of that bright ball in the sky? You know, that thing we call the Moon? You might be surprised to know that the official name of the Moon is… the Moon. And this becomes all the more confusing when there are other moons orbiting other planets, and even asteroids. So let’s look at all the moon names.
Here’s how you can tell the difference. When you’re referring to a smaller object orbiting a planet, that’s a moon – with a lowercase “m” at the front. When you’re talking about the moon going around the Earth, you refer to it as the Moon – with an uppercase “M”.
There are other names for the Moon as well. One alternative is luna, which comes from the latin for the Moon.
A full moon is when the Moon is on opposite sides of the Earth from the Sun, and we see it fully illuminated. A new moon occurs in the opposite situation, when the Moon is on the same side of the Earth as the Sun, and we see it completely in shadow.
A blue moon occurs when there are two full moons in the same month. This happens rarely because the Moon takes about 29 days to complete the full cycle from full moon to new moon and then back to full moon. Blue moons occur about once every 2.72 years on average.
The harvest moon is the full moon that’s closest to the autumn equinox.
The Native Americans gave each of the full moons names:
- Full Wolf Moon – January
- Full Snow Moon – February
- Full Worm – March
- Full Pink Moon – April
- Full Flower Moon – May
- Full Strawberry Moon – June
- The Full Buck Moon – July
- Full Sturgeon Moon – August
- Full Harvest Moon – September
- Full Hunter’s Moon – October
- Full Beaver Moon – November
- The Full Cold Moon – December