Hunter’s Moon is the full moon of October 2022

The Hunter’s Moon, is the full moon of October 2022. It rises near sunset on October 9. The bright light to the west of the full moon is the planet Jupiter. Graphic via John Jardine Goss/EarthSky.

When and where to look in 2022: Look for the bright, round full moon that rises in the east shortly after sunset on October 9, shines in the south around midnight, and falls low in the west before sunrise.

Full Moon Crest drops at 20:55 UTC on October 9. It’s 3:55 p.m. CDT and before moonrise in central North America.

The full moon is always on the opposite side of the sky than the sun. Therefore, it is visible all night. And all full moons rise in the east near sunset time. Likewise, all full moons set in the west near the time of sunrise. On a full moon, the sun, earth, and moon are aligned in space, with earth in the middle. And also, the day side of the moon – its fully lit hemisphere – directly faces us. This is why the moon appears full.

Moon, Earth and Sun aligned
On a full moon, the sun, earth, and moon are aligned in space, with earth in the middle. The day side of the moon – its fully lit hemisphere – directly faces us. Graphic via John Jardine Goss/EarthSky.

Hunter’s Moon will take place on October 9

The full moon after the Harvest Moon is called Hunter’s Moon. Since the Harvest Moon can fall in October — which it does every three or four years — in some years, the Hunter’s Moon can fall in early November as it will in 2025.

The Hunter Moon will be 100% lit on October 9 at 20:55 UTC (3:55 p.m. CDT). On October 10, and even on October 11, you might spot a rising full round moon in the east in the early evening. It is a characteristic of a hunter’s October moon to rise at the time of sunset on several evenings in a row.

October full moon meets two planets

Because the light of a full moon is so bright, it wipes out all but the brightest stars in the sky. In 2022, Jupiter is the light that shines near the full moon. Another planet, Saturn, is the fainter light that shines further west from Jupiter.

Full Moon October 9 in Pisces
The October 2022 full moon occurs on the night of October 9 and is located in the constellation Pisces. Graphic via John Jardine Goss/EarthSky.

The Hunter’s Moon is in Pisces

The October Full Hunter Moon is usually found in front of one of the two zodiac constellations. Most years it is in Pisces, Pisces, as it is this year. But it rarely lands in Aries, Aries, as it will next year. Occasionally, like last year, it occurs in the great constellation Cetus, the Whale.

The moon is roundest on the day it is full, but the day before and the day after, the moon appears almost, but not quite full. Also, on the eve of the full moon, October 8, Jupiter sits next to the nearly full moon.

Where does the name Hunter’s Moon come from?

There are many stories surrounding the names of the moons, including the hunter’s moon. From a practical standpoint, the Harvest Moon and subsequent Hunter’s Moon provided light in the evening for farmers and hunters to complete their tasks.

Each full moon has a multitude of nicknames related to the months of the year. But some moon names, such as Harvest and Hunter’s Moons, are tied to seasons. The Harvest Moon is the full moon closest to the September equinox, or autumnal equinox for the northern hemisphere. The equinox is September 22 or 23. Most Harvest Moons therefore arrive in September. But, every three or four years, the Harvest Moon falls in early October and the Hunter’s Moon in early November.

In North America, the Harvest Moon was a time when the bright moon meant farmers could stay late, work in their fields, pick crops before the first frost. After the harvest, farmers turned to hunting deer and other animals to bolster their food supply before winter. The light of the full moon and the nearly full moon let them hunt until evening. So today we have a Hunter’s Moon.

What makes Hunter’s Moon special?

Nature is particularly cooperative around the time of the autumnal equinox to make autumn full moonrises special. On average, the moon rises about 50 minutes later each day. But when a full moon occurs near the autumnal equinox – either a harvest or a hunter’s moon – the moon (at mid-temperate latitudes) rises about 30 minutes later daily for several days before and after the full moon. The reason for this is that the ecliptic – or, more correctly, the orbital path of the moon – makes a narrow angle with the eastern horizon at the time of the autumnal equinox.

The path of the Moon in October and November.
The shallow angle the moon’s orbital path makes with the eastern horizon in early October allows for more evenings with a bright moon in the east after sunset. The steeper angle in November results in fewer evenings with a bright moon in the eastern sky. Graphic via John Jardine Goss/EarthSky.

The result is that there is a shorter-than-usual lag between successive moonrises around the full moon of the hunter.

If you are in the northern hemisphere, look for the moon to be bright and full for several nights around October 8-11. On these nights, you will see a bright round moon rising in the east relatively soon after sunset for a few days in a row.

A great source for moonrise times is the Custom Sunrise and Sunset Calendar. Be sure to check the box for “moon phases” and “moon rise and set times”.

Is a hunter’s moon bigger or brighter?

No. The hunter’s moon is just an ordinary full moon with a special path through our sky. Yet many of us do think the hunter’s moon looks bigger…or brighter…and more orange than usual. Why?

This is because the hunter’s moon has a powerful mystique. Many people look for it shortly after sunset, when there is a full moon. After the sun goes down around any full moon, the moon will be still be close to the horizon…because full moons rise at sunset. Additionally, it’s the moon’s location near the horizon that makes the hunter’s moon — or any full moon — look large and orange in color.

The orange color of a moon near the horizon is a real physical effect. This is because when you look towards the horizon, you are looking through a greater thickness of Earth’s atmosphere than when you look up and above your head. The atmosphere diffuses blue light, which is why the sky appears blue. The greater thickness of atmosphere in the direction of a horizon scatters blue light more effectively, but it lets red light through to your eyes. Thus, a full moon near the horizon – any full moon near the horizon – takes on a yellow, orange, or reddish hue.

Regarding the size larger than usual from a moon seen near the horizon, it is quite another matter. It’s a trick played by your eyes – an illusion – called the moon illusion.

October Full Moon Images from our EarthSky Community

Full moon rising behind a lighthouse.
View photos from the EarthSky community. | Donald Gargano captured this image on October 20, 2021 and wrote: “The full hunter moon rises behind Nubble Lighthouse, York, Maine.” Thank you Donald!
A full moon rising over a plains landscape.
View photos from the EarthSky community. | Susan Jensen in Odessa, Washington captured the Hunter’s Moon on October 20, 2021. She wrote, “I watched the full Hunter’s Moon rise tonight from my backyard. Thanks, Susan!

Conclusion: The hunter’s moon – the October full moon – is October 9, 2022. Also look for bright Jupiter near the full moon, it is in the constellation Pisces.


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