By this time, we probably assume that we've seen most, if not all, the moon has to offer us. Well, on Jan. 1, aka, New Year's Day, we will be faced with an incredible supermoon, nicknamed a Wolf Moon. The moon definitely took center stage this past year with all of its spectacular events, but now you're probably wondering: what is a Wolf Moon?
If you just so happen to be a die-hard Twilight fan, I hate to break it to you, but this phenomenon has nothing to do with the friend-zoned, half wolf, half human who looked unbearably attractive with his shirt off. Trust me, I checked before I excitedly started looking for my Team Jacob shirt.
Anyway, this will be the first celestial event we get in the fresh, new year of 2018. I mean, it literally falls on the same day that we remember all of those YOLO shots we took on New Year's Eve, as if there would be no tomorrow. And if you can muster up the energy to get out of bed in time, the Wolf Moon will occur at 9:24 p.m. EST. That definitely gives you enough time to recover and gaze up at the sky.
Don't get too caught up in the name, though. The Wolf Moon is most certainly a supermoon, which we are not strangers to. But how boring and incredibly lame would it be if each and every supermoon was just called "supermoon?" We may not be able to control when or how these celestial events occur, but we've surely got the naming part down, if you ask me.
To understand what a supermoon is, you need to know that the moon is not perfect, and therefore, it does not orbit the Earth in a perfect shape or path. The moon's orbit is actually oval-shaped, which means that there are times when the moon is at a point where it is closest to the Earth. Think about the oval-like shape of an egg. Following along? That point where the moon is closest to the Earth is referred to as "perigee." So, when a full moon, which most of us have seen, and perigee coincide, we get a supermoon.
According to NASA, during a supermoon, the moon appears 14 percent larger and 30 percent more luminous. While those numbers don't astronomically jump off the page, the enlarged size of the moon is definitely apparent.
A supermoon seriously makes the moon look like it has been adding extra reps at the gym. When you're looking at it while you're driving and it's hovering around shadowed figurines in the dark, it really stands out. You just want to grab it. If you haven't noticed already, it seems like the names for "supermoons" have a lot to do with what time of the year they make an appearance. For example, a Beaver Moon is coined for the first full moon that occurs in November.
Why is this supermoon nicknamed Wolf Moon?
According to Time and Date, the first full moon of the year gets its name from wolves howling. Back in the day, people tracked the seasons by following the lunar months. Many times, the names of the moons were associated with what sort of features the seasons entailed. This particular moon is also referred to as Snow Moon, Ice Moon, the Moon after Yule, and Old Moon. Time and Date states that wolves tend to be predominantly louder in the first few months of each passing year, which is likely why people from earlier times connected the name of the moon with it.
We'll get to enter and leave Jan. 2018 with a supermoon. Yay, us! A total lunar eclipse will occur with the Jan. 31 supermoon, and you aren't going to want to miss it.