1st full moon of 2024 to rise Thursday night

The first full moon of the year is about to rise, appearing in the eastern sky around sunset Thursday and shining bright into Friday morning near the constellation Orion.

Thursday night's full moon is one of the few astronomy events of the winter, as there are not many meteor showers, planetary alignments or other captivating sights throughout the season.

The full moon rises above Slovenian Alps, seen from near Bled, Slovenia, Friday, Jan. 6, 2023. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)

January's full moon is often called the Wolf Moon, as wolves were heard howling more often during the winter months.

"It was traditionally believed that wolves howled due to hunger during winter, but we know today that isn't accurate," the Old Farmer's Almanac explained on its website. "Howling and other wolf vocalizations are heard in the wintertime to locate pack members, reinforce social bonds, define territory, and coordinate hunting."

Other nicknames for the first full moon of the year include the Canada Goose Moon, the Freeze-Up Moon, the Greetings Moon and the Spirit Moon.

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The next full moon will rise during the final weekend of February and will be the final full moon before the arrival of astronomical spring on March 19.

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