As I was walking our dog around Niskayuna last night I realized that I didn't have to struggle to see where Mondo left his "business". It didn't dawn on me immediately but then I realized, it's really bright out. Like unusually bright. A look toward the sky didn't help as it was very overcast. When I got inside I looked it up and there it is, a Wolf Moon.

Photo by Lenny Orlacchio

The Wolf Moon is the first full moon of January and today, January 28th, it will be at it's fullest. According to Time and Date the moon will reach it's peak illumination this afternoon at 2:16pm in Albany. We just won't be able to see it then! Don't worry, the Wolf Moon will appear to be full for another 24 hours or so.

The best window of time for the Capital Region to see this Wolf Moon is between moonrise and moonset. To pinpoint that even further for your hometown you can use this Moonrise Calculator. For example, the moon will rise this afternoon in Schenectady at 4:54pm and set at 7:28am Friday.

Photo by Lenny Orlacchio

The Old Farmer's Almanac says that it was named the Wolf Moon because wolves were more often heard howling at this time. It was traditionally believed that wolves howled due to hunger during winter, but we know today that wolves howl for other reasons. Howling and other wolf vocalizations are generally used to define territory, locate pack members, reinforce social bonds, and coordinate hunting.

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You will be challenged to hear a wolf howling here in New York but you might hear coyote. For most upstate New Yorkers, a coyote sighting is a rare thing, even though they are sprinkled all around the Capital Region. There are some just down the street from Q1057 in the Albany Pine Bush.

Newsweek cites several other names for January's full Moon, all traditionally used by Native American peoples, including the cold moon, frost exploding moon, freeze up moon, severe moon and hard moon.

 

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