Full Moon

Full moon is a lunar phase that occurs when the Moon is on the opposite side of the Earth from the Sun. More precisely, a full moon occurs when the geocentric apparent (ecliptic) longitudes of the Sun and Moon differ by 180 degrees; the Moon is then in opposition with the Sun.

Lunar eclipses can only occur at full moon, where the moon's orbit allows it to pass through the Earth's shadow. Lunar eclipses do not occur every month because the moon usually passes above or below the Earth's shadow (which is mostly restricted to the ecliptic plane). Lunar eclipses can occur only when the full moon occurs near the two nodes of the orbit, either the ascending or descending node. This causes eclipses to only occur about every 6 months, and often 2 weeks before or after a solar eclipse at new moon at the opposite node.

As seen from Earth, the hemisphere of the Moon that is facing the Earth (the near side) is almost fully illuminated by the Sun and appears round. Only during a full moon is the opposite hemisphere of the Moon, which is not visible from Earth (the far side), completely unilluminated.

The time interval between similar lunar phases—the synodic month—averages about 29.53 days. Therefore, in those lunar calendars in which each month begins on the new moon, the full moon falls on either the 14th or 15th of the lunar month. Because lunar months have a whole number of days, lunar months may be either 29 or 30 days long.

Read more about Full Moon:  Characteristics, Folklore, Calendars, Full Moon Names, The Blue Moon

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Famous quotes containing the words moon and/or full:

    Soldier, there is a war between the mind
    And sky, between thought and day and night. It is
    For that the poet is always in the sun,
    Patches the moon together in his room
    To his Virgilian cadences, up down,
    Up down. It is a war that never ends.
    Wallace Stevens (1879–1955)

    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.
    William Butler Yeats (1865–1939)