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Wolf Moon 2022 today: Earth, Moon and Sun in celestial play-All you need to know

The Moon will remain brightest for about three days, i.e, from the evening of January 16 to the morning of Jan 19, 2022.
Updated on Jan 18 2022, 12:05 PM IST
Wolf Moon 2022 is believed to be the second brightest star in the night sky after the Sun. (NASA)
Wolf Moon 2022 is believed to be the second brightest star in the night sky after the Sun. (NASA)

The first Full Moon, also referred to as the "Wolf Moon" of the year 2022 is set for Tuesday, January 18 in India. The Moon will remain in its full phase for about three days, i.e, from the evening of January 16 to the morning of January 19. Moreover, skywatchers may also see Pollux, the brightest star in the constellation Gemini near the full moon. Here’s all you need to know about the the Wolf Moon 2022 and why it is called the Wolf Moon.

First full moon of 2022: Why is it called Wolf Moon?

January's full moon is traditionally known as the Wolf Moon as wolves can be heard howling at the moon more around this time of year. It is believed that packs of wolves could be heard howling outside the Native settlements amid the cold winters due to hunger. Hence, the year's first Full Moon came to be referred to as the Wolf Moon.

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According to the Farmers' Almanac, wolves’ howling can also be a sign to define their territory, trying to locate other pack members, reinforcing social bonds or coordinating hunting.

Best time to view the Wolf Moon:

Though the Moon will look mostly full for all three days, the peak of the Full Moon will be visible in India on January 18, 2022, from 05:18 a.m. IST onwards.

Skywatchers won't need a telescope or binoculars to spot the Full Moon as it will be visible with naked eyes.

Why is the Wolf Moon so bright?

The Wolf Moon, like other Full Moons, appears bright because the Earth comes between the Sun and the Moon in a way that the two celestial bodies are at the exact opposite ends. The Sun's light fully illuminates the side of the Moon facing Earth making it shine six times brighter than a half-moon. The Wolf moon is believed to be the second brightest object in the sky, after the Sun. It even outshines Venus, the brightest planet in the solar system.

Does the Wolf Moon have anything to do with wolves?

Not really. The Maine Farmers' Almanac began publishing Native American names for Full Moons in the 1930s. After this the names have been used frequently over time and become well-known. January's Full Moon is also known as Ice Moon, Old Moon, and Snow Moon.

Cultural significance of the Wolf Moon 2022

The Wolf Moon has several cultural significances. In India, this Full Moon signifies the Shakambhari Purnima of the Hindu calendar. It marks the last day of the eight-day Shakambari Navratri festival honouring the goddess Shakambhari. The Tamil Hindu community celebrates the Thaipusam Festival on this Full Moon.

It is celebrated as the Moon after Yule and pre-Christian Europeans enjoyed a three-day winter solstice feast.

This also coincides with the week-long Ananda Pagoda Festival in Myanmar which marks the establishment of the Buddhist temple in 1105 A.D. at Bagan. In Sri Lanka, it is known as Duruthu Poya, commemorating Siddhartha Gautama Buddha's first visit to Sri Lanka.

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First Published Date: 18 Jan, 09:47 AM IST