Searching the Sky: A moon of many names

Our planet's satellite might have names like Blue Moon, but as David Baumgartner writes, "I have been viewing the moon all my life, and have yet to glance upon one that was blue."

This article was contributed by community member David Baumgartner as part of a local series on astronomy.

For some reason, humans feel that they have to name everything around them. And when they do, they seem to always exaggerate, whether it is with the size, color or whatever. It never seems to look natural to me.

Have you ever seen a Red Breasted Robin? I haven’t. Though I have seen an Orange Breasted Robin. So how about a Blue Moon? I have been viewing the moon all my life, and have yet to glance upon one that was blue.

So the name “Moon” or “Satellite” just wasn’t good enough for our Earth’s little partner, we needed to give it more names. How about if we give the moon a different name for each month? Well, too late, that has already been done.

There are many traditional names for the Full Moons of each month of the year. It is doubtful that they have much meaning in our society today, except for the “Harvest Moon,” for September, and “Hunter’s Moon” for October, and the more popular “Blue Moon,” which we have already figured out isn’t really blue.

So, for your interest only, or for those crossword puzzle enthusiasts, here are the monthly Full Moon names:

January: Old Moon, or Moon after Yule. Yule is Christmas.

February: Snow Moon, Hunger Moon, or Wolf Moon

March: Sap Moon, Crow Moon, or Lenten Moon

April: Grass Moon, Egg Moon, Easter Moon, or Paschal Moon

May: Planting Moon or Milk Moon

June: Rose Moon, Flower Moon, or Strawberry Moon

July: Thunder Moon or Hay Moon

August: Green Corn Moon or Grain Moon

September: Fruit Moon or Harvest Moon

October: Hunter’s Moon

November: Frosty Moon or Beaver Moon, probably because beavers are active in preparation for winter.

December: Moon before Yule or Long Night Moon, a name appropriate because the midwinter night is long and the moon is above the horizon a long time.

Well, there you are. Very interesting for what it’s worth. Go out and spread the word. Maybe we need to give that a name too.


Other articles in this series:

Searching the Sky: Transparent September Skies

Searching the Sky: No telescope needed for this view



David Baumgartner

I am a local fella. Local schools from Fremont, Sacred Heart, Santa Anita, Hollister High, to San Benito Jr. Collage (Now Gavilan). Then joined the US Air Force where I specialized in Airborne Radar. Married my high school sweetheart JoAnne., shortly after three children arrived; Cindi, Michael, and Lisa. Somehow we ended up with nine Grandchildren.  Went on to San Luis Obispo, Guesta, Collages, and on to Univ. of New Mexico. Came back to Hollister. Opened up Three Pet Stores; Dave's Aquarium Pets & Supplies in SLO, Watsonvile, and Hollister. The family spent two and a half years running a ranch up in Oregon. Made our way back to Hollister.  Got my Real Estate Licence in 1982, opened my own office in 93'. In the mean time raised Swans and revitalized my old hobby of Astronomy.  In 2001 I was named Chamber of Commence Man of the Year. I think I was the only one nominated. I don't care, I'm taking it. Now in December of 2018 I retired. Not sure if I was forced out or not. Non the less, I am retired, at 77 years of age I think it was time. Now the last thing I have to do is buy a coffin. I hear COSCO sells them now. But the only drawback is; you have to buy them in lots of six.  I guess I could buy them for the whole family. Not that funny, but thrifty.