It's time to prepare for winter: Look up to see the full hunter's moon tonight

Doyle Rice
USA TODAY
  • The hunter's moon this year is the first full moon of fall.
  • Other nicknames for October’s full moon include the falling leaves moon, the migrating moon, the drying rice moon, and the freezing moon.
  • Last year, the hunter's moon fell on Halloween night, the first time that a full moon was on the spooky holiday since 2001.

The hunter's moon — the first full moon of fall — will rise Wednesday night in the eastern sky right around sunset.  

The previous full moon rose Sept. 20, just two nights before the equinox, which marked the start of astronomical fall across the Northern Hemisphere, AccuWeather said. It was also the harvest moon, one of the most popular full moons of the year.

October’s full moon is called the hunter's moon as it is the time of year when hunters begin collecting food and storing it for the long and cold winter months ahead, according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac.

"Many moons ago, Native Americans named this bright moon for obvious reasons," the Almanac said. "The leaves are falling from trees, the deer are fattened, and it’s time to begin storing up meat for the long winter ahead."

Dramatic Halloween sky with full moon and bats silhouette

Other nicknames for October’s full moon include the falling leaves moon, the migrating moon, the drying rice moon, and the freezing moon.

Meteor shower:The Orinoid meteor shower will peak Thursday morning, but moon glare might ruin it

As the moon drifts over the horizon around sunset, it may appear larger and more orange, according to the Almanac. "But don’t be fooled by the 'moon Illusion,' which makes the moon appear bigger than it really is," the Almanac said.

Last year, the hunter's moon fell on Halloween night, the first time that a full moon was on the spooky holiday since 2001. That won't occur again until 2039, according to AccuWeather.

This year, moon watchers can also be on the lookout for shooting stars from the Orionid meteor shower, although the moon's glare will make it tough to spot the meteors. 

Read more: A visual guide to full moons around the year