The full Spirit Moon of October will rise in the early hours of Sunday morning (Oct. 16) — and by some definitions, it's also a "supermoon."

October's full Spirit Moon follows the full Harvest Moon of September, which falls around the start of the autumn equinox. The moniker Spirit Moon was coined in the Northern Hemisphere, and refers to the time of year when deer and other game are fattened, and hunters begin stocking up for the winter months ahead.

Some Native American tribes referred to October’s Moon as the Full Hunter’s Moon as it was the time to go hunting in preparation for winter. This full Moon is also called the “Travel Moon” and the “Dying Grass Moon.”

This is the first Full Moon following September’s Harvest Moon. It rises just after sunset and sets around sunrise, so this is the only night in the month when the Moon is in the sky all night long.

How is the Spirit Moon’s different from other full moons? The Hunter’s Moon ( or Spirit Moon) always occurs in autumn. In the Northern Hemisphere, it usually falls in October, although it can come as late as early November. In the Southern Hemisphere, a full moon with Hunter’s Moon (Spirit Moon) characteristics comes in April or May.

Autumn full moons – like the Spirit Moon’s or Harvest Moon – are different from other full moons. That’s because, in autumn, the ecliptic – or path of the sun, moon and planets – makes a narrow angle with the evening horizon. That fact causes several sky phenomena. For example, the location of the moonrise on your horizon, for several nights around a Northern Hemisphere autumn full moon, is noticeably farther north along the eastern horizon for several nights in succession.

Photo Credit: Charles G. Summers

October Full Moon Names from different cultures

Tugluvik (Inuit). Kentenha (Mohawk). Long Hair Moon (Hopi) Ten Colds Moon (Kiowa). Falling Leaves Moon (Arapaho). Corn Ripe Moon (Taos Native American). Hunter's Moon, Blood Moon (Neo-Pagan). Leaf Fall Moon (San Juan Native American). Blood Moon, Wine Moon (Mediaeval English). Blood Moon Falling :Full, Leaf Moon :Dark (Janic). Hunter's Moon, Travel Moon, Full Dying Grass Moon (Algonquin Native American/Colonia).

Other Moon names : Spirit Moon, Snow Moon, Shedding Moon, Winterfelleth (Winter Coming), Windermanoth (Vintage Month), Falling Leaf Moon, Moon of the Changing Season, White Frost moon

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