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The "Christmas Cold Moon" -- Last full moon of 2023 peaks tonight

Get ready for a celestial treat this Christmas! As the year winds down, the final full moon of the year, aptly named the Christmas Cold Moon, is set to light up the night sky, promising a beautiful addition to your holiday festivities.

What is the Christmas Cold Moon?

The Christmas Cold Moon, the full moon closest to the winter solstice, graces our skies during the last week of December.

This year, it will peak at 7:33 pm EDT on Tuesday, following its rise near sunset from Monday through Wednesday.

Not only does it enhance the holiday spirit by illuminating Christmas night, but it also carries deep astronomical and cultural significance.

Astronomical and cultural significance

Astronomically, the Christmas Cold Moon is remarkable for its high trajectory across the sky, resulting in extended visibility.

This phenomenon occurs due to the Earth’s axis tilting away from the sun during this time of year, allowing the moon to follow a higher path.

Culturally, this full moon has been revered for centuries across various traditions. It symbolizes the return of the sun and longer days post the winter solstice.

Many cultures view it as a beacon of hope and a sign of renewal, adding to its mystique and allure.

The Christmas Cold Moon is a visual spectacle

For skywatchers, the Christmas Cold Moon is a sheer delight. Its bright and crisp light, particularly striking against snowy landscapes, creates a magical winter scene. To fully enjoy this spectacle, find a location far from city lights and allow your eyes time to adjust to the dark.

Photographers will find this moon to be a fantastic subject. Using a tripod and a long lens can help capture intricate lunar details. Experiment with various exposures to reveal the lunar surface’s features in all their glory.

In summary, the Christmas Cold Moon embodies the festive season’s spirit, intertwining astronomical wonders with rich cultural heritage. Its annual appearance is a reminder of the night sky’s enduring magic during the holidays.

Mark your calendars for the next full moon, the Wolf Moon, set to appear on January 25.


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