The year 2018 will have the distinction of hosting thirteen full moons and two superb total eclipses of our satellite. Even when it shows its largest diameter, as will be the case on January 2, 2018, the full moon remains small in the vast sky and you can easily hide it with the tip of your little finger outstretched arm. To highlight it in a landscape, it is necessary to use binoculars or to photograph it with a powerful telephoto lens. For this image, showing the rising of the full moon of October 5, 2017 from the massif of Gardiole over the still clear waters of the Gulf of Aigues-Mortes, I used an astronomical telescope giving a focal length equivalent to that of a telephoto lens of 530 mm. The coloring and deformation of the lunar globe are always spectacular to see at the edge of the horizon.
The first of the thirteen full moons of 2018 occurs during the night of Monday the 1ston Tuesday, January 2, our natural satellite is then exactly opposite to the Sun from the Earth and we can see all of its illuminated face. The rising or setting of the full moon is always a great moment to observe. At the edge of the horizon, the lunar disk often appears deformed and orange by atmospheric refraction, diffusion and absorption, because the solar light it reflects must pass through a much greater thickness of atmosphere than when it travels. higher up in the sky. This first full moon of 2018 has, moreover, the peculiarity to occur while our satellite is located closer to the Earth – the perigee – less than 357 000 kilometers away; the orbit of the moon around our planet not being a perfect circle, its distance varies between 356 410 kilometers and 406 740 kilometers. Since it is closer than usual, the lunar disc appears a little larger, but still not to the point of invading half of the sky as can be seen on some coarse montages circulating tirelessly on the Web . If we could put the biggest full moon of 2018 side by side in the sky and the smaller one, the one that will occur in July, we could easily see the difference in apparent diameter, but, isolated in the vast sky, the full moon January 2nd is not going to look very different from any other, it will just be very beautiful! but still not to the point of invading half of the sky as can be seen on some rough montages that circulate tirelessly on the Web. If we could put the biggest full moon of 2018 side by side in the sky and the smaller one, the one that will occur in July, we could easily see the difference in apparent diameter, but, isolated in the vast sky, the full moon January 2nd is not going to look very different from any other, it will just be very beautiful! but still not to the point of invading half of the sky as can be seen on some rough montages that circulate tirelessly on the Web. If we could put the biggest full moon of 2018 side by side in the sky and the smaller one, the one that will occur in July, we could easily see the difference in apparent diameter, but, isolated in the vast sky, the full moon January 2nd is not going to look very different from any other, it will just be very beautiful!
The full moon of January 2, 2018 is the biggest of the year because it occurs almost while our satellite circulates closer to the center of the Earth at its perigee. Its apparent diameter is close to 33.5 minutes of arc, a little more than 0.5 degrees. In 2018, the smallest full moon will occur on July 27 and its apparent diameter will be 29.4 arc minutes. This illustration shows that the visual difference between the two is not huge.
There is a little more than 29.5 days between two identical lunar phases so, if a phase occurs at the beginning of the month, it can happen again at the end, except for the month of February which is always too short, even leap years. In 2018, the cycle of lunar phases allows us to admire two full moons in January, none in February and again two full moons in March. With a full moon on January 2, the year 2018 also has the distinction of hosting 13 sentences moons, so we will have even more opportunity to watch and admire the sunrise and sunset of the face selena.
Here is the list of all phases of the Moon in 2018 in legal time for metropolitan France. The constellation indicated is that in which the center of the lunar disk is actually located at the precise time of the phase for the observers of metropolitan France; in some extreme cases, the Moon can be located in the neighboring constellation at another time of the given day. Depending on your longitude and your time difference, certain phases may occur the day before or the day after the date indicated for metropolitan France.
The Moon is full on 2 in Gemini, in the last quarter on the 8th in the Virgin, new on the 17th in Sagittarius, in the first quarter on the 24th in the Whale, and a second time on the 31st in Cancer. Note that this second full moon slips into the shadow of the Earth, which generates the first total eclipse of the Moon since September 28, 2015. This eclipse is unfortunately not observable in Europe, but we will catch up in six months. Total visibility area: India, Asia, Australia, Pacific Ocean and western North America. The phenomenon is fully observable in French Polynesia and New Caledonia; a partial eclipse by the shadow is visible in Reunion during the rise of the Moon.
The Moon is in the last quarter on the 7th in Libra, new on the 15th in Capricorn and the first quarter on the 23rd in Taurus. There will be no total solar eclipse in 2018, only three partial eclipses; the first occurs on the new moon on February 15, and is only observable in Antarctica and southern South America .
The Moon is full on the 2nd in Leo, in the last quarter on the 9th in Ophiuchus, new on the 17th in Aquarius, in the first quarter on the 24th in Orion, and a second time on the 31st in the Virgin.
The Moon is in the last quarter on 8 in Sagittarius, new on 16 in Pisces, in the first quarter on 22 in Cancer and full on 30 in Libra.
The Moon is in the last quarter on the 8th in Capricorn, new on the 15th in Taurus, in the first quarter on the 22nd in Leo and full on the 29th in Ophiuchus.
The Moon is in the last quarter on the 6th in Aquarius, new on the 13th in Taurus, in the first quarter on the 20th in the Virgin and full on the 28th in Sagittarius.
The Moon is in the last quarter on the 6th in the Whale, news on the 13th in Gemini, in the first quarter on the 19th in the Virgin and full on the 27th in Capricorn. A partial eclipse of the Sun is visible in the extreme south of Australia , in Tasmania and from the French scientific base Dumont D’Urville in Antarctica.
Book your evening of Friday, July 27, to admire a total eclipse of the Moon, the first visible in Europe since September 28, 2015. In metropolitan France, the lunar ball that appears at the edge of the horizon is south-east at bedtime of the Sun is all the more covered by the shadow of the Earth that you are located in the west of the country. Beyond a line Bayonne-Lille, she is even completely eclipsed when she gets up. The totality is particularly long – 1 hour and 43 minutes – because the Sun-Earth-Moon alignment is almost perfect, the center of the Moon passing less than 750 kilometers north of the center of the shadow. The best place on the planet to see this eclipse is the island of Reunion, where the moon is at the zenith in the middle of the whole. The moon sets at the beginning of the totality in New Caledonia.
The Moon is in the last quarter on the 4th in the Whale, new on the 11th in Leo, in the first quarter on the 18th in Libra and full on the 26th in Aquarius. The third and last partial solar eclipse of the year occurs on the 11th; it is visible in Greenland, Iceland and northern Europe in northeastern Asia .
The Moon is in the last quarter on 3 in Taurus, new on 9 in Leo, in the first quarter on 17 in Ophiuchus and full on 25 in Pisces.
The Moon is in the last quarter on 2 in Gemini, new on 9 in the Virgin, in the first quarter on 16 in Sagittarius, full on 24 in Pisces and again in the last quarter on 31 in Cancer.
The Moon is new on the 7th in Libra, in the first quarter on the 15th in Capricorn, full on the 23rd in Taurus and the last quarter on the 30th in Leo.
The Moon is new on the 7th in Ophiuchus, in the first quarter on the 15th in Aquarius, full on the 22nd in Orion and the last quarter on the 29th in the Virgin.
Where and when to observe the moon
Except for the few days surrounding the New Moon, our neighbor is always visible at one time or another of the day or night. The table below tells you where to look for it according to its phase. It is usable whatever your place of observation on the Earth, but for the observers located north of the Tropic of Cancer, the Moon crosses the meridian at the highest point of its trajectory above the southern horizon, whereas for those south of the Tropic of Capricorn cut it over the northern horizon.
|phases||gets up||is from heaven||at the highest||west of the sky||goes to bed|
|Evening croissants||just after sunrise||the morning||just after noon||the afternoon||just after sunset|
|First district||at noon||the afternoon||at sunset||at the beginning of the night||in the middle of the night|
|Gibbous growing||the afternoon||at sunset||at the beginning of the night||in the middle of the night||late night|
|Full moon||at sunset||at the beginning of the night||in the middle of the night||late night||at the Sunrise|
|Gibbous descending||at the beginning of the night||in the middle of the night||late night||at the Sunrise||the morning|
|Last district||in the middle of the night||late night||at the Sunrise||the morning||at noon|
|Morning croissants||just before sunrise||the morning||just before noon||the afternoon||just before sunset|
In addition, depending on your geographical position and time of year, Selene will be higher or lower in the sky. Our satellite follows approximately the trajectory of the Sun and the height of its different phases changes according to the season, as I indicate in the second table, valid for the latitude of Metropolitan France; this table does not take into account the inclination of the lunar orbit, so it is sometimes necessary to add or remove up to 5 ° to the indicated values.
|First district||Full moon||Last district|
|February-March-April||70 °||45 °||22 °|
|May June July||45 °||22 °||45 °|
|August-September-October||22 °||45 °||70 °|
|November-December-January||45 °||70 °||45 °|
If you have an instrument and want to observe the moon, it is obvious that the best periods change according to the phase. The higher our satellite is in the sky, the lower the thickness of the atmosphere its light must pass through, and the more the images have a chance of being stable and of good quality. Simplifying, we can say that at the European latitudes, the end of winter and the beginning of spring are favorable to the observation of the first district, whereas the last quarter is better placed from the end of the summer to the beginning. of autumn. But that these indications do not prevent you from observing the Moon whatever its height when a beautiful night comes!