Behold, the Wolf Moon

Expect some howling as January's full moon peaks Thursday
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 28, 2021 10:00 AM CST
The Wolf Moon Is Coming
People watch as the full moon rises over snow covered mountains in Los Angeles on Dec. 29, 2020.   (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

It's time to revive the howl in honor of the first full moon of the year. January's full moon is known as the "wolf moon" because "wolves were more often heard howling at this time," per the Old Farmer's Almanac. The traditional belief was that the wolves howled due to hunger, though "we now know that wolves use howls to define territory, locate pack members, reinforce social bonds and gather for hunting." The Seattle Times suggests you act like a wolf for the occasion. "There's no how-to rules or guidance, nor set time for this howling. You already know how. Just don't care what anybody thinks and do it. You'll feel better," it notes.

There are many other names for the January full moon. The Assiniboine people, for instance, call it the "center moon," marking the middle point of winter. The Cree instead refer to the "cold moon," per the Old Farmer's Almanac. The moon will hit its fullest point at 2:16pm EST Thursday but will appear full from Wednesday through Saturday, per NASA. On a clear night, with binoculars or a telescope, you might even be able to make out the moon's Sea of Tranquility, reports Live Science. (More full moon stories.)

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