Full Beaver Moon 2017: Meaning Behind November's Almost Blood Supermoon

full moon
Representational image. CC

The next full moon will appear in the night sky on November 4. This moon, known as a full Beaver Moon, will be larger and brighter than average as it is closer to Earth than normal—only December's full moon will be nearer.

All full moons are given names that correspond with the timing of events when people were more reliant on the seasons. This year has been slightly unusual, however.

September's moon is normally called the Harvest Moon as it is the time when people would harvest corn. However, the Harvest Moon is always the full moon that falls closest to the fall equinox—and this year, that was October's.

Beaver Moon

November's full moon was named Beaver Moon by colonists and Algonquin tribes, according to The Old Farmer's Almanac, because it was the time of year when people would set traps for beavers—ensuring they had enough furs to last through winter.

It is also known as the Full Frost Moon as this was around the time when the first frost comes.

This year, however, it is also known as the Hunter's Moon or Blood Moon, which always falls after the Harvest Moon. With the latter taking place in August, the Hunter's Moon has also been pushed back. According to Universe Today, the name goes back to the First Nations of North America. It was the time when hunters went out killing deer in order to stockpile meat for winter—hence Hunter's or Blood.

Not a supermoon

Supermoons occur when a full moon coincides with the moon being at perigee—its closest point to Earth. This makes the moon appear bigger and brighter than normal.

This year's event does not quite coincide. The perigee, when the moon will come within 224,587 miles of us, takes place a day earlier. On the night of the full moon, it will 2,000 miles further away.

As the video above explains, the supermoon in November 2016 was the closest full moon to Earth since 1948.

Looking forward to December

December's full moon, will, however, be a supermoon. It will reach perigee, a distance of 222,135 miles, in the very early hours of December 4 and be known as the Full Cold Moon—no prizes for guessing why.