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March’s full Moon names and observing notes 2014

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This month’s full moon is commonly known as the Fish Moon. It has also been call the Sap Moon, Worm Moon, Lenten Moon, and Crow Moon. The Lakota Sioux called it the “Moon of Snow Blindness”. To the Zuni it was “Little Sandstorm Moon”. The San Juan called it the “Lizard Moon”. The Delaware called it the “Moon when the Juice Drips from the Trees”. The Taos call it “wind Strong Moon”.

Technically the full moon is only a moment in time. That moment occurs at 10:11am MDT on March 16.

The Moon will look full on the evenings March 15, 16,and 17. So which is closest to the true full moon? There is an easy way for the casual observer to tell. A full moon always rises opposite the setting Sun. In general, the Moon that rises within a half hour of sunset is closest to the full moon. If the Moon is well above the horizon or has not risen until well after (greater than a half hour) sunset, it is not a full moon even though it looks like one. Let’s see what the data shows this month for Aurora, CO. For other locations check your local sunset and moonset times.

March 15

Sunset: 7:05pm MDT

Moonrise: 6:28pmMDT

Difference: 33 minutes (Failed, Moon and Sun are not opposite)

March 16

Sunset: 7:06 PM MDT

Moonrise: 7:27 PM MDT

Difference: 21 minutes (Pass, Moon and Sun are opposite)

March 17

Sunset: 7:07 PM MDT

Moonrise: 8:28 PM MDT

Difference: 1 hour 21 minutes (Failed, Moon and Sun are not opposite)

This test works pretty much every time for any full looking Moon. If the Moon looks full and opposite (within 30 minutes) the Sun in the evening or morning it’s a full moon as this month’s data indicates. Take the time this month to see the difference.

A full moon is the only time the Moon is up all night and the only time a lunar eclipse can take place which will happen in April and October this year. Full moons also set in the west opposite the rising Sun. Living near the front range, as we do, provides some pretty nifty moonsets over the mountains, easily noticed by early morning west-bound commuters.

On March 17 (morning) moonset (7:25am MDT) will occur 17 minutes after sunrise (7:08am MDT). You want to start watching around 6:40AM MDT and observe the sunrise. They are usually pretty good here in Colorado.

Wishing you clear skies

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