HomeOutdoorsNewsFull ‘Cold Moon’: How to Watch December’s Fullest Lunar Event

Full ‘Cold Moon’: How to Watch December’s Fullest Lunar Event

by Emily Morgan
Photo by: Thomas Hoflacher / 500px

December’s cold moon, also this month’s full moon, will take the stage on Wednesday, Dec. 7. The moon will peak in our sky before midnight at 11:08 p.m. ET.

In addition to the cold moon, viewers will also have the chance to witness Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars on the same night. According to reports, people will also be able to view an extremely rare phenomenon, dubbed lunar occultation of Mars, as the moon reaches its complete fullness. During the evening, the red planet will vanish behind the moon for a short period.

As for the cold moon, also known as the “long night moon,” you’ll have a good bit of time to look at it as daylight savings time ended in November. According to experts at NASA, the moon enters a high trajectory since it is opposite to our sun. Per reports, the moon will sit right above the horizon longer than any other time of the year.

Celebrate 50th Anniversary of major space event with cold moon viewing

As the space agency describes, the cold moon is aptly named as December is the month when temperatures start to plummet. “The long night moon gets its name because the full moon in December occurs near the solstice, which has the longest night of the year,” said a spokesperson from NASA.

Across the pond, Europeans also call the cold moon the “moon before yule,” named after the Yule holiday of an old northern European winter festival tied to the Christmas holiday.

People in parts of the Americas, Europe, and Northern Africa will have the opportunity to see the event.

In addition, Dec. 7. will also commemorate the 50th anniversary of NASA’s Apollo 17 mission launch. During the event, humans set foot on the moon for the first time. As a result, viewers can take this opportunity to reflect on the historic moment in space exploration.

NASA’s Artemis I prepares for its splashdown

“When you look up at the moon, you should appreciate that it’s not only beautiful … but that it’s a very scientifically important object,” said Dr. Noah Petro. He is the chief of the space agency’s planetary geology, geophysics and geochemistry lab.

He added: “There is no other planet in our solar system that has a moon quite like ours. It is unique in many, many ways, and we, as a society, the whole of humanity, are very fortunate to have it literally in our backyard.”

Now, with the launch of Artemis I on Nov. 16, America is preparing again to put humans back on the moon. Artemis’ Orion spacecraft flew past the moon on Nov. 21, the closest a human-rated vehicle has been to the moon since Apollo 17’s moon landing.

Orion will splash down in the Pacific Ocean on Sunday, officially ending a mission that will hopefully put us on track to finding our way back to the moon’s surface.