How the Hunter's Moon got its name, and how to see it on Wednesday night

By Brian Lada, AccuWeather meteorologist and staff writer

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The full Hunter’s Moon will rise on Wednesday night, lighting up the sky all night long around the globe.

Every full moon is given a name based on the month in which it falls. These names are the same every year with October’s full moon known as the Hunter’s Moon.

Despite its unique name, the Hunter’s Moon will not appear much different from other full moons throughout the year, becoming officially full at 12:45 p.m. EDT Wednesday and continuing to appear full throughout Wednesday night.

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The full moon rises over the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum during the first inning of a baseball game between the Los Angeles Angels and the Oakland Athletics Friday, Oct. 2, 2009, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)


Many of the names given to full moons date back hundreds of years to the Native Americans and were passed on to colonial Americans when they arrived in North America.

“The Algonquin Native American tribes referred to October’s moon as the full Hunter’s Moon because [it signaled the] time to go hunting in preparation for winter,” the Old Farmer’s Almanac said.

“Since the harvesters have reaped the fields, hunters can easily see the fattened deer and other animals that have come out to glean (and the foxes that have come out to prey on them)."

This is just one of many names given to October’s full moon over the centuries by cultures all around the world.

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Across southeastern Asia, October typically marks the end of the monsoon and has influenced the nickname for the month’s full moon.

“For Hindus, this full moon is Sharad Purnima, a harvest festival marking the end of the rains. For Buddhists, this full moon is Pavarana, the end of Vassa (sometimes given the English names 'Rains Retreat' or 'Buddhist Lent'), the three-month period of fasting for Buddhist monks tied to the monsoons,” the Old Farmer’s Almanac said.

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In this Tuesday, Oct 7, 2014 photo, Buddhist devotees pray at Myanmar's landmark Shwedagon Pagoda during the eve of the full moon day of Thadingyut, the lighting festival to mark the end of Buddhist Lent, in Yangon, Myanmar. Thadingyut, or the Lighting festival is held every year in October in Myanmar, a predominantly Buddhist country. (AP Photo/Khin Maung Win)


Occasionally, October’s full moon can also be the famed Harvest Moon, the name given to the full moon closest to the fall equinox; however, in 2018, the Harvest Moon fell on Sept. 24, just days after the autumnal equinox.

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People heading outside to gaze at the Hunter’s Moon may also spot a few meteor streaks across the sky.

This past weekend featured the peak of the Orionid meteor shower, an annual meteor shower sparked by debris left behind by Halley’s comet on a past journey around the sun.

While the meteor shower is waning, people may still spot some shooting stars before the shower ends in early November.


Questions or comments? Email Brian Lada at Brian.Lada@accuweather.com and be sure to follow him on Twitter!


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