How Long Does A Full Moon Last (And Why)?

Exact Answer: One Night

When the moon seems fully illuminated when viewed from the earth, it is said to be a full moon. It is also called a full moon as a complete circle is visible when the moon is viewed. A full moon happens when the earth is located between the sun and the moon.

The earth is located in between in a way that the nearest side of the moon is fully sunlit. It gives the view of a circular disk in the sky and hence is called a full moon. A full moon happens after a regular interval of days. However, that does not mean that it will last for days or weeks.

It lasts for a limited time before the circular disk starts reducing day by day.

How Long Does A Full Moon Last

How Long Does A Full Moon Last?

The moon in the sky looks different each day. Some days only a tiny curve is visible, but only once a month, a full moon appears. It happens due to the revolution of the moon around the earth. The revolution of the moon around the earth cause the four phases of the moon to happen every month.

Although it takes the moon 27.3 days to revolve around the earth. The lunar cycle takes about 29.5 days to go from new moon to full moon, and from full moon to new moon. Because of this factor, a full moon appears only once a month, and in rare cases, twice a month. Hence, the full moon is only visible for a night.

The cycle starts from the new moon, and as the positions of the moon, earth, and the sun change, the light that falls on the moon changes. Hence, each day, the shape of the moon changes. That is why the full moon is only visible for about a night.

Given that the moon is visible to one side of the earth at a given time, the full moon stays for about a full day as part of the lunar cycle. The visibility, however, is for a night. Considering that a night usually lasts for about 12 hours, the full moon is visible for 12 hours.

However, when it is taken into consideration that when there is the day on one side of the earth, there is the night on the other, the total period for which the full moon lasts is 24 hours.

Calculation typeThe period for which the full moon lasts
Day/NightOne night (one side of the earth)
Hours12 Hours (on one side of the earth)
Hours24 hours (counting the visibility on both sides of the earth)

Why Does A Full Moon Last That Long?

Every movement in the space causes something to happen. The rotation of the earth causes the day and the night. The day-night makes it possible to view the sun and the moon from the surface of the earth.

As the moon revolves around the earth, while the earth revolves around the sun, along with the earth rotating on its axis, different volume of sunlight falls on the moon. It causes the moon to appear diminishing and increasing in size, also known as the lunar cycle.

The timing for which the full moon is visible can also change based on what is the current season. In seasons like winters, the moon can seem to be visible for a little longer time.

When the calculation is done in terms of hours, the moon appears to be in the full moon state as long as the night lasts. Technically, as there is a night on both sides of earth one after the other, the full moon lasts for more or equal to 24 hours.

Conclusion

The fact remains that the word month itself originated from the word moon. It is because, in a single month, the complete phases of the moon can be seen.

Sometimes there can a confusion when the moon starts increasing in size. Towards the full moon, the moon might start appearing to be full. Hence, it can seem that the full moon lasts for 2 to 3 days. However, as per the lunar cycle, the full moon is only for a day.

More precisely, the full moon can be viewed from one side of the earth for about a night or 12 hours.

References

  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1525505004001076
  2. https://psycnet.apa.org/doiLanding?doi=10.1037/0033-2909.97.2.286
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