Tonight’s Full Moon: The cold Micromoon of December 2021 will shine in the night sky

Hold hands to enjoy the last full moon day of the year.

According to NASA, the last full moon of 2021 will reach its zenith on Saturday, December 18, at 11:32 p.m. ET, but you can track its path across the sky starting right away. before sunset.

Called the “cold moon” by the Mohawks, this full moon occurs just days before December 21, the longest night of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, also known as the winter solstice. No wonder it’s also been named “the long night moon.”

“My word of encouragement is that people should go outside whenever they can to look at the moon,” said Noah Petro, head of NASA’s planetary geology, geophysics, and geochemistry lab. “There is a moment when the moon is at its fullest, but we can’t feel it with the naked eye.”

Watching the full moon, he said, is not a reward for accuracy, unlike a solar eclipse.

For the best view, Petro said moonwatchers should head out Friday night to locate and look east. “You want to stay away from tall buildings, bright lights, and obstructions.”

Because the December full moon occurs on such a long night in the Northern Hemisphere, it “will shine above the horizon for a longer period of time than most full moons,” said CNN meteorologist Tom Sater. said.

Why is this micromoon

Saturday’s full moon will also be 17% smaller than your average full moon, says Petro. Because the moon has an elliptical orbit around the Earth, at different times the moon is closer or farther away. Saturday’s full moon coincides with the point where the moon is furthest from Earth, also known as apogee, making it a micromoon.

In contrast, a supermoon occurs when the moon is closest to Earth, aka a perigee. This year sees super moons in the months of April, May and June.

The moon will be full before our eyes someday on both sides of peak illumination, says Petro. “It can be cloudy in one place, so if you can’t get out Saturday, get out Sunday.”

Moon lovers in the Southern Hemisphere can go out at night to see the full moon. However, that would be an inverted picture from what people in the Northern Hemisphere would see, Petro said. “The moon doesn’t rotate – it’s your perception of its position because you’re going around this globe.”

Other names for this December full moon include “bitter moon” in Chinese and “oak moon” in Middle English, according to the Star Walk. In the Southern Hemisphere, Saturday’s full moon will occur near the December 21 summer solstice, leading some there to call it a “strawberry moon,” just as residents in the Northern Hemisphere call the June full moon. theirs, for it was the first of the four summer moons.

The Last Meteor Shower Event

The last major celestial event of the year will be the annual Ursids meteor shower, which can be seen between December 17 and 25, peaking on Christmas Eve. However, in the presence of this full moon, only the brightest meteors are visible.

“No two moons are exactly alike,” said Petro. “The moon rise in a month from Saturday is a little bit different and so I really hope … people will start to develop a relationship with the moon.” Tonight’s Full Moon: The cold Micromoon of December 2021 will shine in the night sky

Dais Johnston

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