Farmers Almanac
The Farmers Almanac
BUY The 2018 Almanac NOW!

The Full Wolf Supermoon Howls On January 1-2

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Add to Google+ Share on Pinterest Share on LinkedIn Subscribe by Email Print This Post
The Full Wolf Supermoon Howls On January 1-2

On the first day of 2018, at 5 p.m. EST, the Moon will arrive at its closest point to the Earth since 1998 — an extreme perigee distance of 221,559 miles away. Then, 4 hours and 24 minutes later, the Moon will officially turn full. When the Moon’s full phase coincides with lunar perigee (its closest point to Earth in its orbit), we have what many refer to as a “supermoon” — known for being bigger and brighter than an average full Moon.

The Largest Full Moon of 2018

While January’s full Moon — named the Wolf Moon —  will be the “biggest full Moon of 2018” (the difference in its apparent size to the eye measures just 7.3-percent larger compared to its average distance from Earth), the variation of the Moon’s distance is not readily apparent to observers viewing the Moon directly; put another way, you probably won’t notice much difference.

Of course, once somebody is told that the Moon is closer-than-normal to Earth and consequently appears somewhat larger in apparent size, they may notice a larger Moon. This is especially true if one sees the Moon near the horizon, where the enigmatic “Moon illusion” always comes into play.

The popular astrophysicist, Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, probably said it best: “In the overall scheme of things, is this relatively small increase in the Moon’s apparent size really so meaningful? I mean, if you turned a 14-inch pizza into a 15-inch pizza, would you then call it a “Super-pizza?”

(Continued Below)

Maybe, when it comes to our natural satellite, size doesn’t really matter after all.

Will Ocean Tides Be Affected?

In addition, because this New Year’s full Moon coincides so closely with perigee, it will result in a dramatically large range of high and low ocean tides. Such an extreme tide is known as a perigean spring tide, with the word spring being derived from the German springen — to “spring up,” — not a reference to the spring season.

Whether or not you get excited about this first full Moon of the new year, look for it to rise at around sunset and set at sunrise. As always, we welcome your photos, which you can share with us on our Facebook page.

More “Full Moon Madness” Coming…

There are many more interesting Moon events happening in 2018. First, the Wolf Moon is not the only full Moon we’ll have this month. On January 31st we’ll have a second full Moon (called a “Blue Moon”) along with a total lunar eclipse. This will be followed by a no-Moon February, and another double-full-Moon month in March. Can’t keep track of it all? Don’t worry — we’ll keep you up-to-date on all the details.

Articles you might also like...

2 comments

1 Susan Higgins { 01.04.18 at 8:37 am }

Hi Sharon, You might find this information interesting: It explains how often and how rare. https://www.farmersalmanac.com/astronomy/2017/12/28/full-moon-february/

2 Sharon Arrington { 12.30.17 at 10:17 am }

How common is it that a month has no full moon?

Leave a Comment

Note: Comments that further the discussion of the above content are likely to be approved. Those comments that are vague or are simply submitted in order to promote a product, service or web site, although not necessarily considered "spam," are generally not approved.

If you notice a hole in the upper left-hand corner of your Farmers' Almanac, don't return it to the store! That hole isn't a defect; it's a part of history. Starting with the first edition of the Farmers' Almanac in 1818, readers used to nail holes into the corners to hang it up in their homes, barns, and outhouses (to provide both reading material and toilet paper). In 1919, the Almanac's publishers began pre-drilling holes in the corners to make it even easier for readers to keep all of that invaluable information (and paper) handy.

Spring Is Here – Sign Up Today!

The Farmers' Almanac is a gardener's best friend. Get 365 days of access to our online weather and gardening calendars + a copy of the 2017 Almanac
for only $13.99 $11.99!

Subscribe Today »