The first full moon of 2012 will be tonight, the first of 13 full moons this year. Each of these moons has a name (and one of them has two names), as Space.com (via MSNBC) explains.*How 2012's full moons got their strange namesOrigins credited to Native Americans and early European settlers
By Joe Rao
updated 1/7/2012 3:07:59 PM ET
The start of 2012 brings with it a new year of skywatching, and lunar enthusiasts are gearing up for a stunning lineup of full moons. But, where does the tradition of full moon names come from?
Full moon names date back to Native Americans of a few hundred years ago, of what is now the northern and eastern United States. To keep track of the changing seasons, these tribes gave distinctive names to each recurring full moon. Their names were applied to the entire month in which each occurred.
There were some variations in the moon names, but in general, the same ones were used throughout the Algonquin tribes from New England, continuing west to Lake Superior.
European settlers followed their own customs and created some of their own names. Here is a list of all of the full moon names, as well as the dates and times for 2012: (Unless otherwise noted, all times are given in Eastern Standard Time.)
Tonight's full moon is the Full Wolf Moon which will reach maximum on January 9th (technically tomorrow) at 2:30 a.m. EST. The association of wolf with a full moon has cross-cultural connotations, particularly with superstitions about what else happens involving wolves, people, and full moons. Everyone, enjoy the light show and sing along with Warren Zevon. A-hoo!
Now that the show is over, surf over to Crazy Eddie's Motie News
for the rest of the full moon names, along with important astronomical events associated with some of them.
*This article is among those I excerpted for last night's Overnight News Digest: Science Saturday (100 Year Starship edition)
on Daily Kos. The headline article of that diary entry is one that also deserves a "Beginnings" entry of its own, especially given the science fiction slant of this blog. Like Anonymous, expect it.