Moon near Castor and Pollux
As people gaze up at the full moon in January, they may be asking, “What are those bright stars by the moon?” On January 6, 2023, the full Wolf Moon makes a triangle with the stars Castor and Pollux in Gemini the Twins. Pollux is the brighter of the two stars.
Full moon will occur at 23:08 UTC (5:08 p.m. CST) on January 6, 2023. The Wolf Moon will probably not be noticeably smaller to your eye, but the full moon this month is a micromoon, because it’s getting close to its far point in its orbit around Earth.
The next night, on January 7, 2023, the waning gibbous moon will move on toward Cancer the Crab. Instead of forming a triangle with Castor and Pollux, the moon and stars now form a slightly crooked line.
The view from the Southern Hemisphere
In the Southern Hemisphere, the full moon is much closer to the horizon. Look to the north to spot it near Castor and Pollux. On the southern portion of the globe, the Twins are standing on their heads.
The path of the full moon in early January mimics that of the June sun. So, in the Southern Hemisphere where winter is in June, the January full moon is lower to the horizon.
As you can see, depending on your location on Earth, the view of the night sky changes slightly. If you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, turn our maps upside down for a more accurate view. Or, try Stellarium for a precise star chart from your location.
Bottom line: Find the full moon near Castor and Pollux on January 6 and 7, 2023. The moon will shine brightly in Gemini the Twins before moving into Cancer the Crab the next evening.