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Cumbria Times
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Jan Harris
Deputy Group Editor
4:00 PM 15th May 2022
nature

The Flower Moon In May Will Be Special

image / pixabay
image / pixabay
Every month of the year there is a full moon, each of which is given a different name. Full moons occur when the moon is on the opposite side of the earth to the sun.

Why called the Flower Moon?

The Full Moon of May is known as the Flower Moon to signify the abundance of flowers that bloom during this month.

Other names for May's brightest moon are Corn Planting Moon, Mother's Moon, and Milk Moon, (this was because cows were milked three times a day). Some sources also refer to it as Hare Moon.

The May full moon marked a time of increasing fertility, with temperatures warm enough for safely bearing young, a near end to late frosts and plants in bloom.

The Flower Moon will rise during the evening of Sunday 15 May and set around 5.10am the following morning 16 May. Early risers might be lucky enough to see the total lunar eclipse which is called a Blood Moon when the moon is low on the horizon just before it sets. When the moon is in a direct straight line between the earth and the sun for a split second, this is known as syzygy and the moon turns a copper reddish colour.

What is an eclipse?

Solar eclipse – the moon passes in front of the Sun partially or entirely blocking out light
Lunar eclipse – full moon enters shadow of Earth cutting off the light


Total lunar eclipse

When the moon moves into the Earth’s shadow a total lunar eclipse occurs, otherwise known as a Blood Moon. The May Flower Moon will also be a total lunar eclipse.

Photo by Claudio Testa on Unsplash
Photo by Claudio Testa on Unsplash
Why a full moon?

Full moons occur every 29.5 days or so as the moon moves to the side of Earth directly opposite the sun, reflecting the sun's rays off its full face and appearing as a brilliant, perfectly circular disk.

A full moon occurs when the moon's earth-facing side is completely illuminated by the sun. Scientists say that when you see the moon looking really large as it rises in the sky your brain is actually playing a trick on you.

There are many reasons as to why this is, but the main theory is that when the moon is low on the horizon it can be compared to earthly things, like buildings and trees, and this is why it seems huge.

photo by Rob Harris
photo by Rob Harris
Full moons in 2022

Wolf Moon - 17 January
Snow Moon – 16 February
Worm Moon – 18 March
Pink Moon – 16 April
Flower Moon – 16 May (lunar eclipse)
Strawberry Moon – 14 June
Buck Moon – 13 July
Sturgeon Moon – 12 August
Corn/Harvest Moon – 10 September
Hunter’s Moon – 9 October
Beaver Moon – 8 November
Cold Moon – 8 December


There are a total of 12 full moon phases during the annual lunar cycle plus the occasional Blue Moon and each full moon has a unique name.

Many of these ancient moon names have been given based on the behaviour of the plants, animals, or weather during that month.

It is said that they were the names given by Native American tribes and included into our modern calendar. However the full moon names we now use also have Anglo-Saxon and Germanic roots.

Different types of moons

Blue Moon – when a full moon occurs twice in the same month
Harvest Moon – this is around the autumnal equinox when farmers do most of their harvesting
Supermoon – Supermoons are said to appear 14% bigger and 30% brighter than usual.
Blood Moon – occurs during a total lunar eclipse


Sleep and a full moon

Image by Enrique Meseguer from Pixabay
Image by Enrique Meseguer from Pixabay
Because the moon affects the tides, it is often said that full moons can also influence us. Issues with our immune system can be caused by lack of sleep or disturbed sleep. Some people find falling asleep harder during a full moon along with less time spent in a deep sleep. This lack of sleep can sometimes cause people to have worse headaches often called 'moon migraines'.

Some interesting moon facts:

The moon's diameter is 2,160 miles
The sun and moon are not the same size
The moon's surface is dark
The moon has quakes
There is water on the moon
The moon has a very thin atmosphere
A person would weigh less on the moon
The dark side of the moon is a myth
We only see the near side of the moon, the other side is the far side


The next full moon will rise on Tuesday 14 June 2022 and is the Strawberry Moon