The Full Moon marks the midway point of the monthly lunar cycle when the Moon is 100 percent illuminated by the Sun.
The cycle starts around the start of each month with the birth of the dark New Moon and lasts for 29 days.
In the UK, November’s lunar cycle started in the afternoon hours of Wednesday, November 7, when the Moon completely disappeared.
Stargazers will now spend the next two weeks observing the Moon’s Earth-facing side as it slowly grows in size and brightness.
When is the November Full Moon?
The so-called Beaver Moon is the next Full Moon in November and the 12th Full Moon of the year.
The fully lit lunar orb will grace the night skies on the night of November 23, peaking at different times around the globe.
When seen from London, UK, the Moon will dazzle early in the morning from about 5.39am GMT (UTC).
The Full Moon will then set at 8.35am GMT and rise over the horizon again at 5.23pm GMT.
A bit further up north, the Moon will set at 7.35am GMT and rise at 4.43pm GMT.
And up north in Glasgow, moon-gazers will have to wait until 4.40pm to see the Moon enter the darkening skies.
Why do the Moon phases change?
The Moon’s various phases are largely dictated by its orbit around the Sun and the Earth.
Every single night the same side of the Moon faces our home planet but the amount of Moon we see depends on its position in relation to the Sun.
Sometimes the entire Moon glows during a Full Moon phase and sometimes we only see thin crescent sliver or nothing at all.
US space agency NASA explained: “Sunlight illuminates half the Earth and half the Moon at all times.
“But as the Moon orbits around the Earth, at some points in its orbit the sunlit part of the Moon can be seen from the Earth, and at other points, we can only see the parts of the Moon that are in shadow.”
The most distinct phases of the Moon are the invisible New Moon, the First Quarter Moon, the bright Full Moon and the Third Quarter Moon.
When the Moon is lighting up after a new cycle starts it is known as a Waxing Gibbous Moon and the opposite – when the Moon is shrinking – is the Waning Gibbous Moon.
Why is the November Full Moon known as the Beaver Moon?
The Beaver Moon owes its name to the oral traditions of the many Native American tribes living across the North American continent.
In order to effectively keep track of time, many tribes gave names to the different phases of the Moon to reflect the changes in the landscape and wildlife around them.
Amy Nieskens of the Old Farmer’s Almanac guide to nature and astronomy explained: ‘Centuries ago Native Americans kept track of the changing seasons by giving a distinct name to each Full Moon – names we still use today.
“November’s Full Moon was known as the Geese-going Moon, the Frost Moon and perhaps the most well known, the Full Beaver Moon.
“Traditionally this is the time of year that beavers are preparing for winter and also the time to set traps before the swamps froze, to ensure supplies warm winter furs.”
What are all the Full Moon names this year?
In total, 13 Full Moon will light up the night skies this year.
The first Full Moon of the year was the January 31 Wolf Moon and the last will peak on the night of December 22 – the Cold Moon.
Here is a full list of the named full moons this year:
- January 31 – Wolf Moon
- March 31 – Worm Moon
- April 29 – Pink Moon
- May 29 – Flower Moon
- June 28 – Strawberry Moon
- July 27 – Buck Moon
- August 26 – Sturgeon Moon
- September 24 – Full Corn Moon
- October 24 – Hunter’s Moon
- November 23 – Beaver’s Moon
- December 22 – Cold Moon