The last full moon of the year occurs on 12/12 at 12:12 a.m. this week!
The next full moon, called the Cold Moon, occurs Thursday, Dec. 12 at 12:12 a.m.
According to Space.com, this month’s full moon will be at its peak on Thursday, Dec. 12 at 12:12 a.m. EDT (5:12 UTC), but the moon will appear full the night before and after its peak to the casual stargazer.
Twelve has significance when it comes to our relative understanding of space and time. There are 12 months in a year, and our days are split into two groups of 12 hours.
The event is called the “Full Cold Moon,” or sometimes the “Long Night’s Moon,” because the moon will sit above the horizon longer than it normally does. The last full moon of the year is traditionally associated with the bleakness of winter starting in December.
It also brings colder temperatures and more hours of darkness with it, which makes the name “Long Night’s Moon” appropriate.
According to the Farmers Almanac, as the winter solstice approaches the chill in the air deepens, and the frosty grip of winter begins to tighten. Days grow ever shorter, and the nights are at their longest and darkest.
It is, therefore, no wonder that December’s full Moon is known as both the Cold Moon and the Long Night’s Moon.
The name Long Night’s Moon is doubly appropriate, not only because December nights are indeed long, but also because the midwinter full moon has a high trajectory across the sky, causing it to sit above the horizon for a longer period of time.
December’s full moon is also sometimes called the Moon Before Yule, in honor of the ancient European festival celebrating the return of the sun heralded by the year’s longest night.
For more full moon lore and astronomy visit FarmersAlmanac.com
Photos by PickleJuice