Q:

How many full moons are there in a year?

A:

Quick Answer

Generally, there are 12 full moons each year. Each of the four seasons has three months, with each month containing a full moon. Occasionally, one of the seasons has a fourth full moon.

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Full Answer

The third full moon of a season with four full moons is called a blue moon. Half of the moon is illuminated at all times by the sun. As the angle of Earth, the moon and sun change, different portions of the illuminated side are visible. During the full moon, the moon is on the opposite side of Earth, and the entire sunlit portion of the moon can be seen.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    Are blue moons actually blue?

    A:

    While the name "blue moon" conjures up a vivid, colorful image, the term actually refers to those times when there are two full moons in a single month; that second full moon is referred to as the blue moon, though its color is likely to be the same as it ever is. It is possible for the moon to have a bluish appearance, but this is usually due to atmospheric changes on earth, such as smoke or ash in the upper atmosphere as the result of fires or volcanic activity.

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  • Q:

    Were the two moons visible on August 27 at 12:30 a.m. or 12:30 p.m.?

    A:

    In 2003, a hoax circulated around the Internet predicting that at 12:30 a.m. on Aug. 27, 2003, Mars would appear in the night sky the same size as the moon. The hoax took advantage of the Mars close approach, the time at which Mars and Earth come the closest.

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  • Q:

    How often does a full moon occur?

    A:

    A full moon occurs every 29.5 days, which is the length of time it takes to complete one lunar phase cycle. The lunar phases occur as the moon orbits the earth.

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  • Q:

    Why is it called a "full moon"?

    A:

    The moon is called a "full moon" when it is fully illuminated and appears to be round from the perspective of the earth. A full moon occurs when the moon is on the opposite side of the earth from the sun.

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