Tomorrow’s (December 12) Full Moon is the 12th and final of this year’s full lunar phases. Known to some cultures as the Cold Moon or the Oak Moon, it is the last Full Moon to appear in the chilly night skies of December. Astronomers expect the Full Moon to put on quite the show, peaking in brightness in the wee morning hours of Thursday.
Here in the UK, the Moon will hit full illumination around 5.12am GMT before it sets later at 7.59am GMT, when viewed from London.
In the US, the Full Moon will peak around 12.12am EST when viewed on the East Coast.
Stargazers on the West Coast will have a chance to see the Full Moon on December 11 as it peaks at 9.21pm GMT.
But the Full Moon itself, in astronomical terms, will only last for a few minutes when the lunar orb faces the Sun head-on.
The good news, however, is the Moon appears full to the naked eye for about three days centred on the peak.
When is the next Full Moon after the Cold Moon?
After the Cold Moon wraps up tomorrow, astronomy enthusiasts will have to hunker down until January.
When the annual lunar cycle kicks off again in 2020, the first Full Moon to grace the skies will be the beautiful Full Wolf Moon.
Astronomers estimated the Wolf Moon will make an appearance on the night of January 10, peaking around 7.21pm GMT (2.21pm EST).
As the Moon races from one Full Moon to the next, the lunar cycle lasts roughly 29.53 days.
What is the meaning behind the Wolf Moon’s name?
According to US space agency NASA, the Wold Moon owes its usual alias to the naming traditions of Native American tribes.
“The Maine Farmer’s Almanac first published Indian names for the Full Moons in the 1930s, and according to this almanac, this name came from the packs of wolves that howled hungrily outside the Native American villages amid the cold and deep snows of winter.
“Another name is the Ice Moon. Some tribes called this the Snow Moon but most applied this to the second Full Moon of winter.
“Europeans called this the Old Moon or the Moon After Yule – an old Germanic name for the solstice celebration now associated with Christmas.”
According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, the Moon is also sometimes known as the Great Spirit Moon.
What are the 12 Full Moons in 2020?
Here are all of the 12 named Full Moons to look out for next year:
January 10 – Full Woolf Moon
February 9 – Full Snow Moon
March 9 – Full Worm Moon
April 8 – Full Pink Moon
May 7 – Full Flower Moon
June 5 – Full Strawberry Moon
July 5 – Full Buck Moon
August 3 – Full Sturgeon Moon
September 2 – Full Corn Moon
October 1 – Full Hunter’s Moon
November 30 – Full Beaver’s Moon
December 30 – Full Cold Moon