On Saturday (May 5) at 11:35 p.m. EDT, the moon will officially turn full.
And only 25 minutes later the moon will also arrive at perigee,
its closest approach to Earth — a distance of 221,802 miles away.
The perigee full Moon in May will be as much as
14% bigger and 30% brighter than other full moons of 2012.
The effect of this coincidence is a stunning sky
watching sight called the "supermoon."
Saturday also marks the midpoint of spring in the Northern Hemisphere.
The exact moment between the March equinox and the
June solstice occurs at 10:11 a.m. EDT May 5.
Traditionally, the full moon of May is known as the
"Flower Moon" since flowers are now abundant most everywhere.
It is also known as the Full Corn Planting Moon or the Milk Moon.
Although a full moon theoretically lasts just a moment,
that moment is imperceptible to ordinary observation,
and for a day or so before and after most will speak of seeing
the nearly full moon as "full." The shaded strip is so narrow,
and changing in apparent width so slowly, that it is hard for the naked eye
to tell whether it is present or on which side it is.
The Blue Moon
Each year, the moon completes its final cycle about 11
days before the Earth finishes its orbit around the sun.
These days add up, and every two and a half years or so,
there is an extra full moon, called a blue moon.
The origin of the term is uncertain, and its precise definition
has changed over the years. The term is commonly used today
to describe the second full moon of a calendar month,
but it was originally the name given to the third full
moon of a season containing four full moons.
... WHAT'S IN THE NAME ...
January: Wolf Moon
Native Americans and medieval Europeans
named January's full moon after the howling of hungry
wolves lamenting the midwinter paucity of food.
Other names for this month's full moon include old moon and ice moon.
February: Snow Moon
The typically cold, snowy weather of February
in North America earned its full moon the name snow moon.
Other common names include storm moon and hunger moon.
March: Worm Moon
Native Americans called this last full moon of winter
the worm moon after the worm trails that would appear
in the newly thawed ground. Other names include chaste moon,
death moon, crust moon (a reference to snow that would become crusty
as it thawed during the day and froze at night),
and sap moon, after the tapping of the maple trees.
April: Pink Moon
Northern Native Americans call April's full moon
the pink moon after a species of early blooming wildflower.
In other cultures, this moon is called the sprouting
grass moon, the egg moon, and the fish moon.
May: Flower Moon
May's abundant blooms give its full moon
the name flower moon in many cultures. Other names include
the hare moon, the corn planting moon, and the milk moon.
June: Strawberry Moon
In North America, the harvesting of strawberries in June gives
that month's full moon its name.
Europeans have dubbed it the rose moon, while other cultures
named it the hot moon for the beginning of the summer heat.
July: Buck Moon
Male deer, which shed their antlers every year,
begin to regrow them in July, hence the Native American name
for July's full moon. Other names include thunder moon,
for the month's many summer storms, and hay moon, after the July hay harvest.
August: Sturgeon Moon
North American fishing tribes called August's full moon
the sturgeon moon since the species was abundant during
this month. It's also been called the green corn moon,
the grain moon, and the red moon for the reddish
hue it often takes on in the summer haze.
September: Harvest Moon
The most familiar named moon, September's harvest moon
refers to the time of year after the autumn equinox when
crops are gathered. It also refers to the moon's particularly
bright appearance and early rise, which lets farmers continue
harvesting into the night. Other names include the
corn moon and the barley moon.
October: Hunter's Moon
The first moon after the harvest moon is the hunter's moon,
so named as the preferred month to hunt summer-fattened
deer and fox unable to hide in now bare fields.
Like the harvest moon, the hunter's moon is also particularly
bright and long in the sky, giving hunters the opportunity
to stalk prey at night. Other names include the
travel moon and the dying grass moon.
November: Beaver Moon
There is disagreement over the origin of November's
beaver moon name. Some say it comes from Native Americans
setting beaver traps during this month, while others say the name
comes from the heavy activity of beavers building their winter
dams. Another name is the frost moon.
December: Cold Moon
The coming of winter earned December's full moon
the name cold moon. Other names include the
long night moon and the oak moon.