On the evening of October 13, the spectacular lunar phenomenon, known as the Hunter’s Full Moon, was visible on clear skies.
NASA had announced that the rare bright and orange-colored moon was to appear ‘opposite’ the sun. According to astronomers, full Hunter’s Moon was to reach peak, ‘fullness,’ on Sunday, October 13 at 5:17pm, eastern daylight time.
The first citation of the Hunter’s Moon can be found in the Oxford English Dictionary, and the incidence was recorded in 1710.
The citation describes this rare lunar phenomenon as the full moon that occurs after the Harvest moon. At this time, hunters would be able to see clearly any animals searching for scraps in recently harvested fields.
Deborah Byrd, a science journalist, wrote on EarthSky:
“If you’re in the Northern Hemisphere, look for the moon to be bright and full-looking for several nights beginning around October 11 and 12. Keep watching on October 13 and 14. Around all of these nights, you’ll see a bright round moon in your sky, rising around the time of sunset, highest in the middle of the night.”
Several sources suggest other names used to refer to the Hunter’s Moon. Some of the commonly known terms include the Sanguine or Blood Moon and are supposedly associated with the blood from hunting or perhaps the turning of the leaves in Fall.
In an interview with Country Living, Tania de Sales Marques, an astronomer at the Royal Observatory Greenwich said:
“The October full moon will happen on the 13th and is known as the Hunter’s Moon. The Moon will rise just after sunset, at 18:35, and will be highest in the sky around midnight, so if you go for a walk after dinner and the skies are clear, face south, and you should be able to spot a beautiful full moon.”
But why’s October’s full moon referred to as the ‘Hunter’s Moon?’
The term ‘Hunter’s Moon’ relates to the moon’s light during autumnal. At this time of the year, moonrise and sunset are closer together than usual. It’s this light that impelled many cultures to consider October as the perfect month for hunting, hence the name ‘hunter’s Moon.’
According to Tania, “this name is thought to date back to early European and Native American tribes who would associate October’s full moon with the season for hunting game and preparing for the winter months.”
The Hunter’s Moon appears to look much ‘bigger’ and brighter than other full moons, and it has a warm orange glow. Though some people might claim the phenomenon is a “powerful mystique,” according to science journalist, Deborah Byrd, the actual reason is much more scientific.
“It’s the location of the moon near the horizon that causes the Hunter’s Moon – or any full moon – to look big and orange in color.”
According to NASA, you shouldn’t worry if you missed seeing this rare lunar phenomenon as the Hunter’s Moon will return next Fall. You can also watch Frost Moon and Cold Moon in November and December.