Mesmerizing full moons: The full moon has always intrigued, fascinated and mesmerized us. From legends to science, it simply cannot escape your gaze. Here are six shots of full moons that will blow your mind!
October’s Hunter’s moon
The full moon that comes right after the autumnal equinox is usually called Hunter’s moon. The one before is called Harvest moon. Because of the Earth’s special tilt around that time of year, the ecliptic (path of moon and sun) has quite a narrow angle. This causes the moon to rise more slowly and early than usual along the horizon for several days in a row around the full moon. It means that on full moon day you will barely have to wait to see the moon rise opposite to the sunset. Thus the full disc rises in a bright twilight sky. It enables the moon to shine a vibrant orange color against the deep blue sky.
The Hunter’s moon is thought to have been dubbed this way because as the moon rose earlier in the night, it didn’t allow any period of darkness from sunset to moonrise and enabled hunters to keep scouting for game.
The moon, the plane and the mountain at Sunset
Sometimes luck is on your side. This happened next to Geneva airport in 2018. As the July yellow full moon (Buck moon) was already high in the sky (1 day before official full moon), it rose right over Mont Blanc. Europe’s highest peak was silhouetted by the ongoing sunset that cast its orange pink light onto thunderstorm clouds. Those usually form during the day over the Alps and tend to shrink as the night progresses. As the same time an airplane was passing right in between from the photographer’s perspective to make for a perfect alignment.
February’s full moon is called snow moon. This photograph explains it quite well. It was taken from our aurora borealis observatory this year. The moon rose a bright yellow but was not visible until it was quite high because of low snow mist. The still blue twilight allowed the viewer to peek at the truly jaw-dropping winter wonderland below. All the trees and houses are covered in a deep blanket of snow. The house lights give them away and bring a nice human element to the pure uncharted nature. If you come to the observatory at this time of year you might be able to experience this exceptional phenomenon!
Full moon corona and aurora
This rather strange phenomenon doesn’t require a full moon to happen but it is enhanced by the larger illumination of it. You need extreme cold conditions, clear skies and also pollen in the air. The tiny pollen grains actually diffract the moonlight in a very specific way. They create ringbows of colors around the moon. That night at the observatory we were quite fortunate to witness it. Even more because a nice display of aurora exploded in the background!
Nordic June’s strawberry moon
June’s full moon is called strawberry moon mostly in America because it coincides with the ripening and picking of strawberries. In Europe it is dubbed the rose moon. It’s also a good time to catch the nice orange color of the disc rising some time after sunset if you are at higher latitudes. Since sunsets are longer up north (this photo was taken in Denmark) and the nights are brighter in the summer, the landscape was still well visible. Here the moon rises over the rural landscape of Denmark made of farms, hills, fields, hedges and forest. The moon is the only striking element in the grey sky, which is why it was such a good subject to photograph then and there!
Super blood moon
This is a full moon that doesn’t happen frequently. Sometimes the full moon passes right in the Earth’s shadow. This causes the moon to get eclipsed by the Earth. When the former enters completely into the Earth’s shadow, it gives birth to a total lunar eclipse. The sunlight passing all around the Earth’s atmosphere is diffracted and becomes reddish like at sunset. This typical red-orange color is projected onto the moon hence the name blood moon. This picture was taken during last summer’s total lunar eclipse from the Swiss Alps. The moon was already eclipsed when it rose above the sharp peaks still illuminated by the blue twilight. It was the last total lunar eclipse for a while!