Cold Moon: Final Full Moon of the Decade Arrives After Midnight

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“The Moon, lost in haze, rises over the Wasatch Mountains near Salt Lake City in February 2019. The planet Jupiter can be seen nearby, along with three of its moons.” (Credit: NASA/Bill Dunford)

Reported by Oil City News – Brendan LaChance

CHEYENNE, WYO. – The final full moon of the decade will occur over the skies of Wyoming at 12:12 a.m. on Thursday, December 12th.

The final full moon of the year is called the  “Cold Moon.”

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According to the Farmer’s Almanac, the Algonquin tribes of what is now the northern and eastern United States, named the full Moon in December or the last full Moon of the fall season the Cold Moon, due to the long, cold nights.

The last full moon of the year also goes by other names around the world:

  • An old European name for this Moon is the Oak Moon, a name that some believe ties back to ancient druid traditions of harvesting mistletoe from oak trees first recorded by the Roman historian Pliny the Elder in the 1st century CE.
  • Europeans also called this the Moon before Yule. Yule was a 3-day winter solstice festival. In the 10th Century King Haakon I associated Yule with Christmas as part of the Christianization of Norway, and this association is now common throughout Europe. 
  • As the full Moon closest to the winter solstice, Europeans named this the Long Night Moon. The plane of the Moon’s orbit around the Earth nearly matches the plane of the Earth’s orbit around the Sun. When the path of the Sun appears lowest in the sky for the year, the path of the full Moon opposite the Sun appears highest in the sky.
  • Every full Moon (Poya) is a holiday in Sri Lanka. This full Moon there is called is Uduvapa Poya, also known as Uposatha Poya and Sanghamitta Day, celebrating the planting in 288 BCE of a sapling from the sacred Bodhi Tree in the city of Anuradhapura by Princess Sanghamitta, who help spread the teachings of Buddha in Sri Lanka. Princess Sanghamitta was the eldest daughter of the Emperor Ashoka.
  • This moon could also be called the Chang’e Moon, named after the two Chinese lunar landers that launched in December of 2013 and 2018. The Chang’e 3 lander and Yutu rover launched on December 1 and landed on the Moon on December 14 2013. The Chang’e 4 lander and Yutu-2 rover launched on December 7, 2018 and landed on January 3, 2019. These missions are named after the Chinese goddess of the Moon, Chang’e, who lived on the Moon with her pet jade rabbit, Yutu. 

For more info on The “Cold Moon” or other upcoming celestial events please visit the NASA’s website here.