Advertisement

'Micromoon' to rise next to Orion constellation

By Brian Lada, Accuweather.com
Stargazers can step outside on Friday evening to see the moon rise in the eastern sky to the left of the constellation Orion. File Photo courtesy of NASA
Stargazers can step outside on Friday evening to see the moon rise in the eastern sky to the left of the constellation Orion. File Photo courtesy of NASA | License Photo

The first weekend of the new year will kick off with a full moon, although it will not glow quite as bright as other full moons throughout 2023.

Stargazers can step outside on Friday evening to see the moon rise in the eastern sky to the left of the constellation Orion, but while the event will look similar to a typical full moon, a small change in appearance will result in a phenomenon called a micromoon.

Advertisement

As the moon orbits around the Earth, there are times when the moon is closer to the planet, known as perigee, and times when it is farther away, known as apogee. The viral sensation of a supermoon takes place when a full moon rises around the same time that it is at perigee, causing the moon to appear slightly larger and brighter than normal.

This weekend's full moon is the counterpart to the supermoon as it will take place when the moon is near apogee, making the moon appear slightly smaller and not as bright. The result is a micromoon, although the difference between a micromoon and other full moons is almost imperceptible to the human eye.

Advertisement

In addition to being a micromoon, January's full moon is often referred to as the Wolf Moon. The name can be traced to the regions of North America where wolves can be heard howling during the winter to help claim their territory, locate other members of their pack and to gather before hunting, according to the Old Farmer's Almanac.

January's full moon also has several nicknames relating to wintry weather, including the Freeze Up Moon, the Cold Moon and the Frost Exploding Moon.

The full moon on Friday night is the first of two consecutive micromoons in 2023, with the next one rising on Sunday, according to TimeAndDate.com.

Stargazers who are looking forward to the return of the supermoon will have to wait until summer with the first supermoon of 2023 rising during the first week of July.

Latest Headlines