Wednesday, 28 February 2018

No Full Moon in February 2018

This Year’s Lunar Calendar Is Pretty Uncommon

There's been a lot happening in space lately. OK, so I guess there's probably always a lot happening in space, but recently, there's been a lot happening up there that we here on Earth can actually see — and it's been pretty cool. You've probably already heard about the super blue blood moon that rose in the early morning hours of Jan. 31, but what you might not realize is that said cosmic phenomenon (which is really a mash-up of three individual phenomena: a supermoon, a blue moon, and a blood moon aka total lunar eclipse) is going to shake up the lunar schedule for February 2018 too. So why is there no full moon in February? Allow me to explain.

In order to really understand the absence of a February full moon, you first need to have a firm grasp on the definition of a blue moon, which we're (uniquely!) experiencing in both January and March of 2018. Prior to all this talk of the super blue blood moon, I thought that "blue moon" was just a funny part of the expression used to describe something that happens very rarely — "it's once in a blue moon!" — so I understand if you need the background too.

According to Time and Date, a blue moon is what we call the second of two full moons to rise within the same calendar month. Usually, we experience 12 full moons over a 12-month period — one per month — and a blue moon constitutes the 13th. The first full moon of 2018 rose on Jan. 1, which means that when the second one rose on Jan. 31, we had ourselves a blue moon. And while blue moons aren't totally routine (there is some logic to the "once in a blue moon" saying), they do happen approximately once every two or three years, per Time and Date.

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Why no full moon in February 2018?
Photo of a winter full moon rising, by Bob King, aka AstroBob. February 2018 won’t have a full moon

In the Americas at least, 2018 features an unusual sequence of full moon dates: January 1, January 31, March 1, and March 31. There are two full moons in January, none in February, and two full moons again in March. This isn’t a unique occurrence. It happened in 1999 and will happen again in 2037, at intervals of 19 years, an interval called the Metonic cycle by astronomers.

There’s no scientific significance to having two full moons in a month or a February with no full moons. It is simply a quirk of our calendar.

The average time between two full moons is about 29 1/2 days. Most months of the calendar are longer (30 or 31 days) and February is shorter (28 days, 29 in leap years). Therefore, it’s possible, from time to time, for any one of 11 months to contain two full moons … but not February. In fact, February can have no full moons, as in 2018. And when this happens, both January and March will have two full moons each. Nowadays, the second full moon of a month is called a Blue Moon.

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2018 Full Moon Calendar

The moon shows its full face to Earth once a month. Well, sort of.

In fact, the same side of the moon always faces the planet, but part of it is in shadow. And, in reality most of the time the "full moon" is never perfectly full. Only when the moon, Earth and the sun are perfectly aligned is the moon 100 percent full, and that alignment produces a lunar eclipse. And sometimes — once in a blue moon — the moon is full twice in a month (or four times in a season, depending on which definition you prefer). [The Moon: 10 Surprising Facts]

The next full moon will be a Blue Moon — the second full moon of January — on Wednesday, Jan. 31. To casual observers, the moon will still appear full the day prior and after the peak. Like January's first full moon, the second full moon will be a "supermoon" as the moon arrives at perigee close to reaching its fullest phase. There will also be a total lunar eclipse during the Blue Moon, which some are billing as a rare Super Blue-Blood Moon Lunar Eclipse. Such a Blue Moon total lunar eclipse has not occurred for 152 years, our skywatching columnist Joe Rao has found.

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Chinese Lunar Calendar
Full Moon on 1st Jan 2018 in Gregorian calendar & on 15th Nov 2017 in Chinese calendar

Full Moon on 31st Jan 2018 in Gregorian calendar & on 15th Dec 2017 in Chinese calendar

Full Moon on 2nd Mar 2018 in Gregorian calendar & on 15th Jan 2018 in Chinese calendar

Full Moon on 31st Mar 2018 in Gregorian calendar & on 15th Feb 2018 in Chinese calendar

Full Moon on 30th Apr 2018 in Gregorian calendar & on 15th Mar 2018 in Chinese calendar

Full Moon on 29 May 2018 in Gregorian calendar & on 15th Apr 2018 in Chinese calendar

Full Moon on 28th Jun 2018 in Gregorian calendar & on 15th May 2018 in Chinese calendar

Full Moon on 27 Jul 2018 in Gregorian calendar & on 15th Jun 2018 in Chinese calendar

Full Moon on 25th Aug 2018 in Gregorian calendar & on 15th Jul 2018 in Chinese calendar

Full Moon on 24th Sep 2018 in Gregorian calendar & on 15th Aug 2018 in Chinese calendar

Full Moon on 23rd Oct 2018 in Gregorian calendar & on 15th Sep 2018 in Chinese calendar

Full Moon on 22nd Nov 2018 in Gregorian calendar & on 15th Oct 2018 in Chinese calendar

Full Moon on 21st Dec 2018 in Gregorian calendar & on 15th Nov 2018 in Chinese calendar

Chinese calendar, a lunisolar calendar, is formed on the movement of the moon.

Full Moon occurs on every 15th Day of the Chinese Lunar Calendar.

There are 2 Full Moons in January & March but no Full Moon in February 2018.

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related:
The Second Blue Moon of 2018
No Full Moon in February 2018
Ultra Rare 3-In-1 Moon Phenomenon
The first Blue Moon of 2018