The 'Wolf Moon' Is Happening Tonight—Here's What To Expect

Plus, learn about the different types of full moons happening in 2023.

You may think that a full moon is just a full moon—which for the most part, is true. However, there are special names attributed to different full moons, which brings us to tonight—as we're getting ready to see a wolf moon! We'll explain exactly what a wolf moon is, as well as answer "When is the next full moon?"

A full moon is known for lighting up a sky more brightly than other moon phases and is always fun to see. The wolf moon happens tonight and, according to EarthSky, will occur in the U.S. at 6:08 PM eastern time.

And tonight only kicks off the excitement! In 2023, we will have thirteen full moons, including four super moons, and one blue moon. So, if you miss seeing the moon tonight, you will have other chances to get a glimpse at a full moon!

If you are wondering how the moons get their names or when exactly the next moon will appear, read on for more details. Here is everything you need to know about the wolf moon and upcoming full moons in 2023!

Related: 125 Cosmically Cool Baby Names Meaning Moon for Boys and Girls

What Is a Wolf Moon?

Wolf moons take place in January. Unlike some of the special moons that simply differ in color, the wolf moon is a micro moon, which is somewhat smaller than a normal full moon.

A micro moon is when the moon is at its farthest point from the Earth in orbit. This means that the moon is at least 251,655 miles or farther than 405,000 kilometers away from the center of the earth. This point in the orbit is called an apogee. It will make the moon appear slightly smaller than normal, but it will still be very bright.

How Did the Different Moons Get Their Names?

The early Native Americans didn't keep track of time by using months as we know them. Instead, they kept track of time by observing seasons as well as the lunar months. With full moons occurring once per month, each was given a name that was applied to the entire month. Some tribes defined a year as twelve moons and other tribes used thirteen moons. The extra moon was added every few years to keep the lunar calendar in sync with the seasons.

To differentiate between the twelve moons of the year, Native Americans assigned each one its own unique name that went along with a specific meaning.

In January, the first moon of the year is the wolf moon because of the fact that it comes at a time when wolves would howl in areas where they lived. Other names that have been used for this first moon are Cold Moon, Frost Exploding Moon, Freeze Up Moon and Hard Moon because of the cold weather in many locations.

Related: Once in a Blue Moon: 5 Fun Lunar Facts

Different Types of Full Moons

From the Farmers Almanac, here is the list of each of the full moons for 2023, along with the meaning of each one. After you see how the tribes went about naming the moons, their names make total sense.

January - Full Wolf Moon: It is said that this moon appeared when wolves were howling outside the villages.

February - Full Snow Moon: Since the heaviest snowfalls are typically in February, it was given the name snow moon. Some tribes called this moon Hunger Moon since hunting was difficult at this time of year.

March - Full Worm Moon: At the being of Spring, the ground begins to soften and earthworms start appearing.

April - Full Pink Moon: This moon was named after the pink ground phlox began to appear, which was one of the first Spring flowers.

May - Full Flower Moon: Flowers are in abundance during this month.

June - Full Strawberry Moon: This was a time when Algonquin tribes began to gather ripened strawberries.

July - Full Buck Moon: Bucks begin to grow new antlers at this time.

August - Full Sturgeon Moon: The sturgeon found in the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain were easily caught in abundance during this full Moon.

September - Full Corn Moon: Corn was harvested during this moon.

October - Full Hunters Moon: With the leaves falling, it was a good time to hunt for game.

November - Full Beaver Moon: The Algonquin Tribes and the colonists both trapped for beaver at this time before the swamps froze.

December - Full Cold Moon: The nights become long and dark at this time and the cold temperature sets in.

Related: Can’t Sleep? Blame the Full Moon

When Is the Next Full Moon?

We have 13 full moons in 2023 with two of them occurring in August. The second full moon in August is called a blue moon and it happens, well, once in a blue moon. Here are the actual dates that you will be able to view the monthly moons. You can see that the full moons occur at the beginning of each month and then transition to the end of each month after the Blue Moon in August.

  • Wolf Moon - January 6

  • Snow Moon - February 5

  • Worm Moon - March 7

  • Pink Moon - April 6

  • Flower Moon - May 5

  • Strawberry Moon - June 3

  • Buck Moon - July 5

  • Sturgeon Moon - August 1

  • Blue Moon - August 30

  • Harvest Moon - September 29

  • Hunter's Moon - October 28

  • Beaver Moon - November 27

  • Cold Moon - December 26

Next Up: When Is the Next Blood Moon? Go Ahead and Mark Those Calendars!