How Long Does the Full Moon Last?

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Many of us are fascinated by the beauty and mystery of the full moon. Its luminous glow and enchanting presence in the night sky have captivated people for centuries. But have you ever wondered how long a full moon actually lasts? In this article, we will explore the duration of a full moon and the factors that affect its visibility. Let’s dive in!

Understanding the Phases of the Moon

Before we talk about the duration of a full moon, let’s quickly review the moon’s phases. The moon goes through eight distinct phases, namely new moon, waxing crescent, first quarter, waxing gibbous, full moon, waning gibbous, third quarter, and waning crescent.

The full moon is the stage when the moon is fully illuminated and appears as a complete circle in the sky. It occurs approximately once every 29.5 days as the moon orbits around the Earth.

Factors Affecting the Duration of a Full Moon

Time of Rising and Setting

The duration of a full moon can vary depending on the time of rising and setting. The moon rises in the east and sets in the west, just like the sun. The exact time of rising and setting depends on your location and the time of year. On average, the moon stays in the night sky for about 12 hours.

Weather Conditions

The visibility of the full moon can also be influenced by weather conditions. If the sky is cloudy or foggy, it may obstruct your view of the moon and reduce its apparent duration. On clear nights, however, you can enjoy the full moon for its entire visibility period.

Atmospheric Interference

Another factor that can affect the duration of a full moon is atmospheric interference. When the moon is lower on the horizon, you may perceive it to be larger due to an optical illusion known as the “moon illusion.” This illusion occurs because of the way our brain processes the moon’s size in relation to familiar objects in the foreground. As the moon rises higher in the sky, it appears smaller, but its duration remains the same.

The Duration of a Full Moon

While the exact duration of a full moon can vary, it is typically considered to last for one night. However, since the moon rises at different times on different nights, the period of full moon visibility may extend to a couple of nights.

If you are keen on observing the full moon, it is advisable to check the local moonrise and moonset times for your location. This will give you an idea of when the moon will be at its fullest and provide you with the best opportunity to witness its beauty.


The full moon is a captivating celestial event that lasts for approximately one night. However, the visibility and perceived duration can be influenced by various factors such as the time of rising and setting, weather conditions, and atmospheric interference. Keep an eye on the moonrise and moonset times in your area to maximize your chances of enjoying the full moon’s splendor.

Next time you find yourself gazing at the full moon, take a moment to appreciate its beauty and remember the factors that contribute to its duration. Happy moon watching!

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How Long Does the Full Moon Last?