The Wolf Moon, the First Full Moon of 2023, Is Coming in Early January
If you're looking for more ways to celebrate the new year, you’ll have an opportunity on January 6, 2023. The first full moon of the year—which is also a micromoon, shining towards Earth from its farthest orbital position—will illuminate the skies that Friday night. Before looking up to see the wolf moon over your backyard, familiarize yourself with the annual celestial event.
What Is the Full Wolf Moon?
A wolf moon is the first (and in most years, the only) full moon to occur in January. The name comes from the fact that wolves were thought to howl more frequently during the first month of the year. The Assiniboine people called it the center moon because the event was recognized as the midpoint of winter, according to Almanac.com.
When to See the Full Wolf Moon
The full wolf moon falls on Friday, January 6, 2023. The moon will reach peak fullness at 6:08 p.m. EST. If the moon isn’t visible in your part of the world at that time, wait until sunset. The celestial body will still look especially bright throughout the night.
This year’s wolf moon is a “micromoon”—the opposite of a super moon. It will be positioned at its apogee, a.k.a. its farthest point in its orbit from Earth, and will appear higher in the night sky than a normal full moon usually does.
The full wolf moon is one of many exciting lunar events to look forward to in 2023. After catching this one, mark your calendar for February 5—that's when February’s snow moon is set to appear.
A version of this story ran in 2021; it has been updated for 2022/2023.