The traditional full moon name for November is the “Beaver Moon”. It is also called the “Frosty Moon” or “Snow Moon”. To the Natchez it’s the “Autumn Time Moon”. The Lakota Sioux called it the “Moon of the Falling Leaves”. The Cheyenne named it “The Freezing Moon”. The Taos call it “The Corn Harvest Moon” and the Oto call it “Every Buck Loses His Horns Moon”. The Wisham called it “The Snowy Mountains in the Morning Moon”.
Technically the full moon is only a moment in time. For November that moment occurs at 8.17am MST on Sunday, November 17. The Moon will look full on the evenings November 16, November 17, and November 18. 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. The data this month tells a slightly different story for Aurora, CO.
November 16 The Moon rises well before sunset
Sunset: 4:43pm MST
Moonrise: 4.20pm MST
Difference: 23 minutes (Pass, Moonrise and Sunset are within 30 minutes)
November 17 The Moon rises within 30 minutes of sunset
Sunset: 4:42pm MST
Moonrise: 5:01pm MST
Difference: 19 minutes (Pass, Moon and Sun are opposite)
November 18 The Moon rises well after sunset
Sunset: 4:42pm MST
Moonrise: 5:46 pm MST
Difference: 64 minutes (Failed Moon and Sun are not opposite)
This test works “most” every time for any full looking moon. But as with month the rule occasionally fails if the time of the full moon is close to local sunrise or sunset time. This month the full Moon occurs close to local sunrise. The test fails us this month. The average observer will not be able to tell the difference between the Moon’s appearance on November 16 and 17. Not a bad deal if you like looking at full moons.
A full moon is the only time the Moon is up all night and the only time a lunar eclipse can take place. A full moon also sets in the west opposite the rising Sun providing us living near the front range really neat moonsets over the mountains, easily noticed by early morning west-bound commuters.
You may want to observe the full moon setting over the mountains. On November 17 moonset occurs at 6:43am MST. Sunrise is at 6:45am MST. This is one of the few times you can watch the moonset and sunrise at the same time. You want to start observing around 6:00am MST. If you got a camera and tripod try taking a picture.
Wishing you clear skies