Full moon fever: All you need to know about tonight’s ‘Wolf Moon’

Wolf Moon will reach its peak at 12:54 ET, with most of the Northern Hemisphere visible later in the evening
A representational image. — Unsplash
A representational image. — Unsplash

Wolf Moon — the first full moon of 2024 — is expected to rise tonight (Thursday), with its rays also making Venus, Mercury and Mars visible early Friday.

According to the United States Naval Observatory, the Wolf Moon will reach its peak at 12:54 ET, with most of the Northern Hemisphere visible later in the evening.

It should be noted that the full moon has been named Wolf Moon after the packs of wolves heard howling outside villages during winter, typically around January.

The Wolf Moon will be visible for a small portion of the day, with moonrise occurring at 4:56pm and sunset occurring eight minutes later at 5:04 pm.

Meanwhile, other planets will be illuminated under the full moon’s light:

  • Venus will rise at 5:11am on Friday
  • Mercury will rise almost an hour later at 6:05am
  • Mars will rise at 6:09am

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) said the moon undergoes eight phases during its 29.5-day cycle — which includes a full moon every month, which may not always occur on the same day. These eight phases are:

  1. New moon
  2. Waxing crescent
  3. First quarter
  4. Waxing gibbous
  5. Full moon
  6. Waning gibbous
  7. Third quarter
  8. Waning crescent

During the full moon phase, the moon appears as a perfect circle in the sky because the entire side of the moon that’s facing the Earth is lit up by the Sun’s rays.

According to EarthSky, if you use binoculars, you will be able to see Venus glowing brightly just before dawn on Saturday

Meanwhile, Mercury will be visible 45 minutes before sunrise, lower in the sky. Clear skies may allow gazers to get a glimpse of Mars, which will be dimmer next to Mercury.

Nasa predicts the waning moon — the phase between full and half-moon— will pass near the brightest star in the Leo constellation, Regulus, on Saturday morning.