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Cold Moon: You need to see the last Full Moon of 2021

The Moon will shine at its brightest one last time before the year ends.

MARSEILLE, FRANCE - 2021/11/19: View of a full moon in Marseille. (Photo by Gerard Bottino/SOPA Imag...
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The Full Moon will rise one last time before the end of the year 2021, and you need to see it in all of its icy glory.

On December 18, the Cold Moon will appear at its brightest in the night sky, marking the coming winter season and the end of another year. It also happens to shine during the long winter night, which provides ample time to marvel at its full beauty.

What is the Cold Moon?

December’s Full Moon is also known as the Cold Moon or the Long Night Moon.

Full Moons generally get their names passed down from Native American tribes who gave each month’s Full Moon its unique name based on the season.

The Moon goes through eight different phases as it completes one orbit around the Earth.

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For December, the Cold Moon name reflects the temperatures during the dead of winter as things start to get chilly. It is also known as the Long Night Moon because it rises during one of the year's longest nights.

Others refer to December’s Full Moon as the Wolf Moon as wolves are known to howl in the middle of the night during the cold season. However, that name is also used for the January Full Moon.

How to see the December 2021 Full Moon

The Full Moon will rise on Saturday, December 18 at 11:36 p.m. Eastern, but the Moon itself will still appear full the night before and after its peak time.

This month’s Full Moon is best known for its high trajectory above the sky, meaning that it will sit right above the horizon for a longer period which allows for an optimal viewing experience.

How much brighter is the Moon during a full Moon?

A Full Moon takes place when Earth is wedged between the Sun and the Moon at exactly opposite ends. As a result, the side of the Moon facing Earth becomes fully illuminated by the Sun’s beaming light.

The Moon becomes six times brighter when it’s full than a Half Moon. It shines at an average magnitude of -12.92 — making it the second brightest object in the sky except for the Sun, and far brighter than the brightest planet, Venus.

When is the next Full Moon?

One year will see around 12 Full Moons, one each month. However, some years will see 13 full Moons since a lunar year is 354 days, or the time it takes the Moon to do 12 orbits around Earth.

This took place in the year 2020, with the last Full Moon of the year being the unlucky number 13.

The next Full Moon will shine bright on Monday, January 17, 2022, at 6:48 p.m. Eastern. January’s Full Moon is known as the Wolf Moon.

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