Full moon will brighten Christmas sky for the first time in 38 years. The last time it happened, in 1977, Jimmy Carter became president of the U.S. and Apple Computers was incorporated.
Fred Espenak, moon and eclipse expert at NASA says that the full moon will reach peak on December 25 at 6:11 a.m. EST. Next time when this is going to happen will be in 2034. This means that children born next year will be 18 years old when they will first have the change of seeing a full moon on Christmas sky.
The best time to see the full moon in the United States will be on Christmas Eve, while in the UK it is going to be visible at its peak right on Christmas evening.
The Christmas full moon comes at a distance of three days after the winter solstice on December 22. The winter solstice is the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. On this day, the Sun reaches its lowest position, of -23.5 degrees. For people living at the North Pole, this is the day when they won’t see any direct sunshine. The South Pole experiences the exact opposite, having almost 24 hours of sunlight – a phenomenon also known by the name of the Midnight Sun.
According to weather.com, the full moon of each December, being the last full moon of the year, gets the name of Full Cold Moon or Full Long Night’s Moon, reminding of the long, cold nights of the month. Some might also know it at the Moon Before Yule, which might be translated as the Moon Before Christmas – a name that won’t work this year.
Each month, the full moon has a different name, dating back a few hundred years, when they have been named by Native American tribes. In January it is going to be the Full Wolf Moon or the Moon After Yule. It seems that old Indians have named it that way since it was the time of the year when wolves were the hungriest so they were coming closer to their villages.
The Full Long Night’s Moon also makes reference to the position of the moon towards the Earth and sun. Being diametrically opposite to the lowest position of the sun, the moon draws its highest arc on the night sky.
Image source: pixabay