Paul is a full-time fifth-grade teacher at an elementary school in Fairfield ... Paul is an Emmy award winner, five-time Emmy nominee, and four-time winner of the Connecticut Associated Press Broadcasters' Association award for 'Best Weathercast' ... The local weather journal is a two-time winner of the Communicator Award of Distinction ... Paul was inducted into the Housatonic Community College Hall of Fame and received the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2012 ... Follow Paul on Twitter @PaulPiorek ...

Friday, January 2, 2015

January's Full Wolf Moon Rises Sunday Evening

I'm sure you noticed the waxing Moon rising in the sky after sunset over the course of the last few days. In case you're wondering, the Full Wolf Moon officially happens late Sunday evening, January 4, at 11:53 p.m. EST.

Since the length of daylight is still relatively short, the full Moon will appear for nearly its longest duration of the year. In fact, Saturday's moonrise happens at 4:35 p.m., and Sunday's moonset is at 7:13 a.m. That means the Moon will be "out" for more than 14-and-a-half hours. During the Summer, when the Sun rises earlier and sets later, a full Moon isn't "out" nearly as long since the daylight is much longer.

The Moon rises about 30 to 70 minutes later each day, so the Moon is out during the daytime as often as it is out at night. As the Moon wanes, it becomes a half Moon and a crescent Moon on the way to a new Moon. The complete phase cycle is about 29.5 days average duration. The time in days counted from the time of New Moon is called the Moon's "age." Each complete cycle of phases is called a "lunation."

So how did the name of the January full Moon originate? Amid the cold and deep snows of midwinter, the wolf packs howled hungrily outside Indian villages. Thus, the name for this month's full Moon. Sometimes it was also referred to as the Old Moon or the Moon After Yule. Some called it the Full Snow Moon, but most tribes applied that name to the next Moon.