Flower moon 2023: When to see the brightest full moon in May

The next full moon will be on Friday, May 5. Known as the "flower moon," it will reach its peak illumination at 1:36 p.m. ET.

This timing means that the flower moon at its brightest point will be on the opposite side of the planet from North America, giving skygazers in locations such as East Asia the best view.

However, North American residents will still be able to see the flower moon – while not at its peak illumination – during the evening of May 5.

The full moon is one of nine phases of the moon. It occurs when the moon’s orbit brings the lunar body opposite the sun – essentially, the Earth stands between the two.


SRINAGAR, KASHMIR, INDIA - JULY 27: A bed of flowers in front the full moon during the total lunar eclipse on July 27, 2018 in Srinagar, the summer capital of Indian Administered Kashmir. Astronomers in India were hoping for clear skies to enjoy the

This placement allows the side of the moon facing Earth to be fully lit by sunlight, creating a full moon.

The flower moon, in particular, is the second full moon of spring. This spring timing is linked to the origins of the moon’s name.

Glowing radiant in the sky, the flower moon was named by Native Americans in the northern and eastern U.S., according to NASA. They observed flowers in abundance during this springtime full moon, which inspired the name "flower moon."