When two full moons occur during the same calendar month, based on the timing of the lunar cycle, the second full moon is commonly described as a “blue moon” or a “monthly blue moon.” This is the modern definition of a blue moon, according to astronomy experts.

May 2019 is a little different, because there’s only one full moon appearing this month. So why are some people calling it a blue moon?

Under an older definition, if four full moons — instead of three — occur during one astronomical season (spring, summer, fall or winter), the third full moon of the season is called a “blue moon.”

The May moon will officially be full at 5:11 p.m. Eastern time on Saturday, May 18, so it will look nearly full on Friday night, May 17, completely full on Saturday night, and nearly full on Sunday night, May 19.

The moon will start rising in the eastern sky over New York City, Newark and Atlantic City at about 6:50 p.m. on Friday, about 8 p.m. on Saturday and about 9:05 p.m. on Sunday. Observers in Philadelphia will be able to see the moon start rising in the eastern sky at 6:55 p.m. on Friday, 8:03 p.m. on Saturday and 9:09 p.m. on Sunday.

In the tradition of Native American naming, it’s commonly known as the flower moon, to reflect the spring blooms seen this month. Other names for the May full moon include the hare moon, the corn-planting moon and the milk moon.

According to some Native tribes, the full flower moon means increasing fertility, as temperatures become warm enough for animals to bear young.

For this reason, it’s sometimes called Mother’s moon. It also signals the near end of late frosts.

The name flower moon is sometimes used to describe the full moon of June, but a more popular name for June’s moon is the strawberry moon.

May Moon Names

Frog Moon (Cree). Ponies shed (Sioux). Bright moon (Celtic). Waiting Moon (Hopi). Mulberry Moon (Greek). Ninth Moon (Wishram). Idle Moon (Assiniboine). Big Leaf Moon (Mohawk). Panther Moon (Choctaw). Grass Moon (Neo-Pagan). Planting Moon (Cherokee). Corn Planting Moon (Taos). Little Corn Moon (Natchez). Green Leaf Moon (Apache). Corn Weed Moon(Agonquin). Field Maker Moon (Abernaki). Blossom Moon (Anishnaabe). Shaggy Hair Moon (Arapaho). Green Leaves Moon (Dakota). Fat Horses Moon (Cheyenne).

Leaf Tender Moon (San Juan). Hare Moon (Medieval English). Milk Moon (Colonial American). Strawberry Moon (Potawatomi). Hoeing Corn Moon (Winnebago). Alewive Moon (Passamaquoddy). Ninth Moon (Dark Janic), Mothers Moon (Full Janic). Flower Moon, Corn Plant Moon, Milk Moon (Algonquin).

Other Moon names : Frogs Return Moon, Sproutkale Moon, Dyad Moon, Merry Moon, Joy Moon


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