TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The last full moon of the decade will rise in the night sky tonight. Not only is this full moon special because it is the last of 2019, but it occurs at a coincidental time.
While the moon appears full for several nights in a row to the human eye, it is actually only 100% illuminated for a split second in time. That time tonight happens to be at 12:12 AM eastern standard time on December 12th.
Being in the eastern standard time zone is quite special because otherwise, the numbers do not match up so nicely. If you’re in the central time zone, the full moon occurs at 11:12 PM CST on 12/11.
If you are on the West Coast of the US, the full moon occurs at 9:12 PST on 12/11.
Regardless, tonight’s full moon will not visibly appear different than any other full moon.
The full moon prior to the winter solstice (which occurs on December 21st) is most commonly given the name the cold moon. According to NASA.gov, the tribes of the northern and eastern United States deemed it this due to the long, cold nights.
It has other names as well. The Europeans named it the Oak Moon possibly from traditions of harvesting mistletoe from the oak trees.
Moon Before Yule is also a term used to describe the full moon before the first day of winter. Yule was a three-day festival celebrating the winter solstice.
Unfortunately for those wanting to catch a glimpse of tonight’s Cold Moon, clouds may get in the way. This particular full moon may block out much of the Geminid Meteor shower which is supposed to peak Friday night. However, clouds and rain may get in the way of that altogether as well.
The first full moon of the new decade will occur on January 10th and is referred to as the Wolf Moon.
There are 13 full moons in 2020 meaning one month has two full moons. In 2020, this extra full moon, known as a Blue Moon, occurs on October 31st, the night of Halloween.