Eclipse 2020: What is a wolf moon and why does the Moon have different names?

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Wolf moon: What is it?

Blue moons, harvest moons, worm moons - there are lots of different names for different phases of moons, but did you know each month the full moon has a different name?

The full moon on Friday 10 January, the first full moon of the year, is called a wolf moon.

This year's full moon will look a bit different as the Moon will drift into Earth's shadow and become a wolf moon eclipse, casting an eerie shadow across the Moon.

Why do the monthly full moons have names?

Throughout history people have used the Moon, and the light it reflects, for different tasks - like hunting, planting and harvesting.

Cultures across the world give these full moons different names to fit with what was happening in the month, you can find out all their different names below.

The modern calendar doesn't quite follow the Moon's phases so sometimes there's more than one full moon a month. This is called a blue moon.

Find your birthday month's moon below.

What are the names of the monthly full moons?
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January: Wolf moon

Native Americans and Medieval Europeans called this moon a wolf moon, it's thought to be because wolves howled more at this time of year because there was less food.

February: Snow moon

The snowy weather of February in North America led to the name snow moon. Other common names include storm moon and hunger moon.

March: Worm moon

The worm moon appears in March at the end of winter when little creatures like worms start squirming out of the ground. It's also called milk moon.

April: Pink moon

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Pink moon was named after phlox flowers

Disappointingy the pink moon isn't actually pink. It's named by native Americans after pink flowers called wild ground phlox, which bloom in early spring and appear throughout the United States and Canada.

It is also called egg moon and fish moon in other cultures.

May: Flower moon

May's spring flowers are the reason for this month's name.

Other names include the hare moon, the corn planting moon, and the milk moon.

June: Strawberry moon

The harvesting of strawberries gives this moon its name - the strawberry moon.

July: Buck moon

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The Buck moon is in July and is sometimes known as the thunder moon

This is the time when a buck, which is a male deer, grows its full antlers. This moon is also called thunder moon after the summer thunder storms.

August: Sturgeon moon

Tribes in North America caught sturgeon, a type of fish, around this time.

It is sometimes called a grain moon.

September: Full corn moon

moon-in-a-corn-field.Getty Images

September's full moon is probably called corn moon because that's when crops are gathered at the end of the summer season.

At this time, the Moon appears particularly bright so farmers could continue harvesting into the night.

If it is the nearest full moon to the autumnal equinox it is called the harvest moon.

October: Hunter's moon

This is the time when people would plan for the winter months and hunt animals for food.

Like September's moon it is sometimes called the harvest moon.

In 2020 October's first full moon will be a harvest moon and the second a blue moon.

November: Beaver moon

Beavers often start building their dams about this time which is where it got it's name. It is sometimes called frost moon.

December: Cold moon

The winter chill gave December's full moon the name cold moon. Other names include the long night moon and the oak moon.

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