October's full moon, the Hunter's Moon, occurs on Sunday (Oct. 9) when the moon will appear large and orange-hued on the horizon at around sunset.

Skywatchers will be able to see the nearly full moon for several nights before and after the Hunter's Moon  —  which gets its name from the fact it once signaled a time to hunt in preparation for the coming winter.

The Hunter's Moon is the first full moon to follow the Harvest Moon  —  which fell on Sept. 10 this year. The Harvest Moon itself is the first full moon after the autumnal equinox that signals the start of fall in the northern hemisphere. This makes the Harvest and Hunter's moons unique as the only full moons that are tied to an astronomical event and can actually happen in different months.

Though the Hunter's Moon will reach maximum illumination at around 4:54 p.m. EST (2054 GMT) on Sunday, it will still be below the horizon at this time. That means skywatchers will have to wait until sunset to see this full moon.

As the full moon moves above the horizon on Sunday, it may appear larger and more orange, taking on a fitting appearance for the fall season and for the build-up to Halloween. This is the result of something called the 'moon illusion' and the fact it is being viewed close to the horizon.

The orange color comes about because as we look at the full moon close to the horizon, the light that it reflects towards us is passing through more of the Earth's atmosphere than when it is close to overhead.

That's why the moon appears redder when we look at it close to the horizon, but why does it appear larger? This may be more down to how we perceive objects rather than an actual physical effect. According to Farmer's Almanac (opens in new tab), when the moon is overhead it is 'dwarfed' by the vast horizon. This has the effect of making it appear smaller.

When the moon appears close to the horizon, however, we compare it to fewer celestial objects (which appear small in the sky) and instead contrast it with earthly things like buildings and trees (which appear larger by comparison). This has the effect of making the moon appear massive.

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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