Cold Moon Begins – Now!

There will be signs!


Full ‘cold moon’ shines bright and eclipses Mars in a rare event

Story by Taylor Nicioli • 5h ago

December’s full moon, also known as the “cold moon,” will shine bright in the night sky this Wednesday, peaking at 11:08 p.m. ET.

Jupiter, Saturn and Mars will also be visible in the night sky Wednesday, with an extraordinarily rare phenomenon, known as a lunar occultation of Mars, set to happen around the moon’s peak fullness, according to EarthSky.

At this point, the red planet will disappear behind the moon for a short period of time. This highly unusual event will be visible in parts of the Americas, Europe and Northern Africa.

December 7 also marks the 50th anniversary of NASA’s Apollo 17 mission launch — the last time humans set foot on the moon. This year’s cold moon, then, offers viewers both the chance to enjoy a lunar spectacle and reflect on the monumental space exploration humanity has achieved.

“When you look up at the moon, you should appreciate that it’s not only beautiful … but that it’s a very scientifically important object,” said Dr. Noah Petro, chief of NASA’s planetary geology, geophysics and geochemistry lab.

“There is no other planet in our solar system that has a moon quite like ours. It is unique in many, many ways, and we, as a society, the whole of humanity, are very fortunate to have it literally in our backyard.”

The Mohawk people deemed the December full moon “tsothohrha,” or time of cold — in reference to the frigid weather it would usually accompany, according to the Western Washington Planetarium site. Like many other Native American tribes, the Mohawks kept track of the months by giving a name to each full moon.

This full moon has also been known as the “moon before Yule” in Europe, to mark the Yuletide festival, and as the “long night moon” by the Mohicans, due to its proximity to the winter solstice, the longest night of the year, which falls on December 21 this year, according to The Old Farmer’s Almanac.

Moon observing

The full moon will make its way across the sky starting at sunset. And with the sun going down earlier in the Northern Hemisphere, there is a longer time period for those looking to catch sight of the lunar event. Anywhere with a clear view of the sky will suffice, Petro said, though for best viewing, he recommends finding an area free from tall buildings and trees.

Related video: December’s Cold Moon will occult Mars on the night of Dec. 7 (Dailymotion)

Full ‘cold moon’ shines bright and eclipses Mars in a rare event© Provided by CNN

The last full moon of the year rises behind Galata tower in Istanbul on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel) – Emrah Gurel/AP

“The day before and a day after, the moon will still appear full to the naked eye,” Petro said. “So, if it’s cloudy on the seventh, you can try again on the eighth.”

The forecast for Wednesday evening will be partly cloudy skies in New York City, mostly clear skies in Los Angeles and mostly cloudy skies in Chicago, according to Allison Chinchar, CNN meteorologist.

Those in the Southern Hemisphere will get the same view of the full moon during nighttime hours, although the orientation will be flipped, as always.

About Royal Rosamond Press

I am an artist, a writer, and a theologian.
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