The first full moon for 2023, called the Wolf Moon, occurs Friday, Jan. 6, and will reach full peak at 5:08 p.m. CST.
Many believe that Wolf Moon was coined by Native American tribes who would often hear packs of hungry wolves howling on cold and snowy nights in the middle of winter.
However, the Old Farmer’s Almanac says the hunger theory might be off-base.
“It was traditionally thought that they howled due to hunger, but there is no evidence for this,” the publication says. “However, wolves do tend to howl more often during winter months, and generally howl to define territory, locate pack members, and gather for hunting.”
Although the “wolf moon” is the most common nickname for the full January moon, it also has been known as the “cold moon,” the “old moon,” the “great spirit moon,” or the “moon after Yule,” according to the Farmers’ Almanac and the Old Farmer’s Almanac.
For us in the Northern Hemisphere who want to watch the full moon’s path – where the sun is continuing its low arc across the daytime sky (albeit getting higher by the day) – the January full moon rides high in the sky. This makes it appear to mimic the path of a summer sun. If you’re in the north, watch for the high January full moon especially around midnight (midway between your local sunset and sunrise). It’ll be like a noontime summer sun. North of the Arctic Circle, this full moon stays out around the clock, like the midnight sun of summer.
For more on January’s full moon, click here.