Looking ahead to the lunar calendar for 2023, there are 13 full moons to look forward to this year. That means there are thirteen opportunities to see an incredibly rare phenomenon known as a moonbow.

Moon Phases

There are several phases that the moon passes through every 29.5 days - waxing, waning, full, and new. You likely already know that the moon is full when it reaches peak illumination and it is considered to be new when it is at its most dark. But what about waxing and waning moons? A waxing moon is the phase when the moon is moving from darkness to full illumination, or new to full. A waning moon is what we see when the moon begins to slowly go from full illumination back to dark or full to new.

Other Moon Terms

There are a couple of other terms you may have heard when it comes to referencing our lunar friend: gibbous and crescent. The moon is considered to be either a waxing or waning crescent when the moon is at only 50% illumination or less. Likewise, a moon is gibbous (waxing or waning) when it is between 50-99% illumination.

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The Mighty Full Moon

Because the full moon does not coincide with the manmade calendar, it does not happen at the same time each and every month. It's for this same reason that there are typically thirteen full moons in a twelve-month calendar year.

Big Rock, Bigger Impact

The moon has a tremendous impact on our planet. The gravitational lunar pull affects the ocean tides, animal behaviors, and even human behaviors (ask any ER doctor or nurse about their jobs during a full moon.)


Something Rare and Magical

There is a phenomenon known as a moonbow - it is exactly like a rainbow in the way rays of light are refracted in water, but it actually happens with moonlight instead. In the entire world, there are only two places that regularly and consistently produce moonbows. One of them is in Africa and the other is in Kentucky. In the middle of the woods, next to a waterfall in Kentucky, there are thirteen opportunities to see this phenomenon!

Full Moon Dates for 2023

So when can you experience the magic of the full moon (and maybe even a moonbow too) in 2023? According to Almanac.com,

  • January 6 Wolf Moon
  • February 5 Snow Moon
  • March 7 Worm Moon
  • April 6 Pink Moon
  • May 5 Flower Moon
  • June 3 Strawberry Moon
  • July 3 Buck Moon
  • August 1 Sturgeon Moon
  • August 30 Blue Moon
  • September 29 Harvest Moon
  • October 28 Hunter's Moon
  • November 27 Beaver Moon
  • December 26 Cold Moon

LOOK: 23 astronomical events to look out for in 2023

Stacker compiled a list of 23 astronomical events to observe in 2023 using a variety of news and scientific sources. 



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