After years of foggy and dark nights, Rudolf can stay home. The Full Cold Moon will guide Santa on Christmas night – a rare event that hasn’t been seen in the past decades, astronomers say.
This Christmas, children and parents have one more reason to look at the sky. The Full Cold Moon will put on a show for them as they will be waiting for Santa to bring them presents.
This astronomical phenomenon has had different names throughout the history. It was called the Full Cold Moon, the Moon of Yule or the Full Long Night’s Moon. Although we could be tempted to relate the appearance of the full moon to the Christmas holiday, historians explain the names of the phenomenon have nothing in common with the Christian holiday.
On the contrary, the holiday was related to agricultural practices in the past. According to the Farmer’s Almanac, December’s full moon was depicted with the aforementioned names because this is the coldest month of the year.
Moreover, its proximity to the winter solstice on December 21st, has further strengthened the belief that Christmas’ full moon is a cold one. December 21st will have the longest night and the shortest day periods of the year. The astronomical event will start at 11:49 p.m. and the day will only last for 6 hours and 12 minutes.
The full moon on the Christmas Eve is all the more interesting since it is very rare. The last time astronomers have seen one was 38 years ago. Those who will not make it in time to watch the peak moment of the full moon at 6:11 a.m. on December 25 will have to wait 19 more years to see the phenomenon again. Scientists have estimated that the next Full Cold Moon will take place in 2034.
The only thing we can wish for, other than Santa’s presents, is that the skies will be clear enough for us to see the full moon. Astronomy aficionados can follow weather reports ahead of the event to keep track of the areas with the biggest visibility.
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