The next Full Moon is an exciting period for astronomy enthusiasts, as well as for anyone who simply finds it enjoyable to gaze up at a bright, shining moon in the night sky. The bright light of a full moon is thought to bring increased spiritual energy and awareness, along with a heightened sense of energy among people. Knowing the various lunar cycles and when each full moon will occur is a fun and interesting way to stay connected with the science behind the night sky.

What is a Full Moon?

A full moon is the lunar phase that occurs when the moon is directly on the opposite side of Earth from the Sun. At this time, the illuminated area of the moon is facing directly toward Earth, making it appear as a bright, shining disk in the night sky. Depending on where you live, full moons occur about once a month and last for about three days, from the first visible waxing gibbous phase to the waning gibbous phase.

What is the Lunar Cycle?

The Lunar cycle is the cycle the moon follows in its orbit around the Earth. It takes about 29.5 days for the moon to complete one cycle, and during this time the moon will appear to go through 8 phases: new moon, Waxing Crescent, First Quarter, Waxing Gibbous, Full Moon, Waning Gibbous, Third Quarter, and Waning Crescent. During the first quarter and third quarter phases when the moon is visible in the night sky, it is visible in the shape of a crescent.

How is a Full Moon Calculated?

Full moons can be calculated in a variety of ways. For example, most astronomical events such as eclipses, meteor showers, and full moons can be accurately calculated by using mathematical formulas. Scientists also use physical observations of the moon, such as its size and angle of illumination, to forecast the date of the next full moon. Additionally, online lunar calendars and moon phases apps can also be used to determine upcoming full moons.

When is the Next Full Moon?

The next full moon, the Full Sturgeon Moon, will occur on Tuesday, August 28, 2018 at 8:56 PM EDT. The Full Sturgeon Moon is the 8th full moon of the year and is named for the species of fish that is known for its abundance during the summer.

Full Moons Through the Rest of 2018

Full Moon dates and names through the remainder of 2018 are listed below:

September 24, 2018- Harvest Moon

October 24, 2018 – Hunter’s Moon

November 23, 2018 – Beaver Moon

December 22, 2018 – Cold Moon

How to Enjoy a Full Moon

If you’re lucky enough to have a clear night sky during a full moon, here are some tips for enjoying it to the fullest:

• Go Stargazing – Grab a blanket, some snacks or a bottle of wine, and cozy up for some stargazing. Take the time to admire the beauty of the night sky – the stars, the planets, and of course the bright, glowing full moon.

• Try Moon Photography – If you have a good quality camera and a tripod, take some photos of the night sky to document the evening. From long-exposure captures of the night sky to more abstract images and patterns in the stars, the night sky on a full moon can make for some beautiful images.

• Host a Nighttime Gathering – Gather a few friends or family and enjoy the evening outside under the full moon. Organize some outdoor activities like star gazing, storytelling, or even a sing-along with your favorite songs.

• Spend Time in Meditation – Take the opportunity to relax and reflect. Close your eyes, pay attention to your breath, and use the effects of the full moon to enhance your meditative practice.

The Benefits of the Full Moon

Full moons are an exciting natural phenomenon, but there is also a rich spiritual component to them. Many cultures believe that full moons have an effect on one’s body and soul, particularly due to its strong magnetic pull. The energy of a full moon stimulates the body and helps open the third eye, which many believe can lead to a heightened awareness of its spiritual power.

During a full moon, many people spend time in meditation and reflection, which can lead to increased insight about one’s life and inner-world. It is believed to bring about clarity of thought and help people to see certain things more clearly. It is also thought to be a time of amplification, meaning that what you are focusing your energy on at the time of the full moon will become amplified and take on greater significance.

The full moon is a powerful phenomenon that brings with it an incredible energy full of mystery, curiosity, and wonder. Whether you take the time to stargaze under its light, capture it in a photograph, or simply spend some time in spiritual reflection, use the full moon to your advantage by letting its energy work to open and expand your mind.

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