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How to watch the 'Ice Moon' rise on Martin Luther King Jr. Day

The full moon rises behind Monte Camicia mountain in Gran Sasso National Park in Italy, on Dec. 19, 2021.
The full moon rises behind Monte Camicia mountain in Gran Sasso National Park in Italy, on Dec. 19, 2021. (Image credit: Lorenzo Di Cola/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The first full moon of 2022 will rise at 6:48 p.m. EST on Monday (Jan. 17), which is also the day the U.S. observes the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.

The "Wolf Moon," as the Farmer's Almanac calls it, will appear full to the naked eye for three days from Sunday evening (Jan. 16) to Wednesday morning (Jan. 19), according to NASA. Appropriately for the time of year, January's full moon is also known as the Ice Moon. In Europe, it might be called "the moon after Yule," a reference to the pre-Christian festival of Yule, which originated with Germanic peoples as early as the 5th century. 

In the Chinese lunar calendar, January's full moon will usher in the final weeks of the Year of the Ox; the next New Moon on Feb. 1 will mark the beginning of the Year of the Tiger. 

The moon also marks the last day of the festival of Shakambari Navratri in the Hindu calendar, a celebration of the goddess Shakambari, who represents nourishment. Meanwhile, for Hindus of the Tamil ethnic group, the full moon marks the date of the festival Thaipusam, which celebrates the Hindu god of war vanquishing the demon Soorapadman.

This full moon also comes near the moon's apogee, the point at which it's at its farthest from Earth on its slightly elliptical orbit. According to NASA, apogee occurred at 4:27 a.m. EST on Jan. 14, 2022. At apogee, the moon is about 251,655 miles (405,000 kilometers) away from Earth. 

The days are now lengthening with the passage of the shortest day of the year, the winter solstice, but there are still opportunities to watch the full moon shine. On the day the full moon rises, evening twilight will end at 6:14 p.m. EST, according to NASA, setting the stage for a dramatic moonrise a half-hour later. The bright star Pollux, part of the constellation Gemini, will be visible near the full moon. 

Skywatchers in North America will also be able to see Jupiter above the southwestern horizon, and they might be able to catch a short glimpse at Saturn, which will barely peak over the horizon to the right of Jupiter for about 15 minutes as twilight ends. 

Originally published on Live Science.

Stephanie Pappas
Stephanie Pappas

Stephanie Pappas is a contributing writer for Live Science, covering topics ranging from geoscience to archaeology to the human brain and behavior. She was previously a senior writer for Live Science but is now a freelancer based in Denver, Colorado, and regularly contributes to Scientific American and The Monitor, the monthly magazine of the American Psychological Association. Stephanie received a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of South Carolina and a graduate certificate in science communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz.