Full Moon 2020: What time does the Cold Moon peak tonight?

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December’s Full Moon is the thirteenth complete Moon of the year – one more than normally comes in a calendar year. Most months see at least one Full Moon, but sometimes there are two – with the second in a calendar month known as a Blue Moon. This occurs as the Moon takes 29.5 days to complete an orbit, so sometimes more than one can fit into a month if the timing is right.

In 2020, the Blue Moon came on October 31.

As such, the December Full Moon is the thirteenth Full Moon of 2020, and one to send the year out in style.

When does the Full Moon peak?

According to the Royal Greenwich Observatory, the Cold Moon will peak at 3.38AM on December 30.

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Even with clouds, stargazers will be able to see the bright Full Moon shining through.

This full moon is classed as a Cold Moon, aptly named considering it comes in the coldest month.

The Cold Moon has other names too, including the Full Cold Moon or the Full Long Night’s Moon.

The Farmers Almanac website explained: “During this month the winter cold fastens its grip, and nights are at their longest and darkest. It is also sometimes called the Moon before Yule.

“The term Long Night’s Moon is a doubly appropriate name because the midwinter night is indeed long, and because the Moon is above the horizon for a long time.

“The midwinter full Moon has a high trajectory across the sky because it is opposite a low Sun.”

NASA explained on its website: “Europeans call the December full moon the Moon before Yule.

“Yule is an old northern European winter festival that is now associated with Christmas.

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“The Native American names for the full moon in December — as reported in the Farmer’s Almanac — are the Cold Moon or the Long Night Moon.

“The Cold Moon gets its name because December is the month when it really starts to get cold, although our coldest average temperatures are in January.

“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.

“The full moon takes a high trajectory across the sky because it is opposite to the low sun, so the moon will be above the horizon longer than at other times of the year.”

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