Starwatch: Last full moon of year with New Year’s Star

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Starwatch for the week of December 28, 2020

The last full moon of the year occurs this week! On December 29th, 2020 the moon will reach its full phase at exactly 10:28 pm EST. We call this the Cold Moon or Long Night Moon since this time of the year has the coldest days and longest nights.

The moon will be shining all night long. It will be rising in the east at sunset, move high in to the sky, and then set in the west sky near dawn.

On New Year’s, look for the brightest star in the sky, Sirius! This star has a few nicknames. One being the Dog Star since it is within the constellation Canis Major the Greater Dog. It is also called the New Year’s Star. This is because every year on New Year’s, it celebrates a new year by reaching its highest point in the sky around midnight! 

Sirius will move from the east towards the west sky during the night. A good trick to find Sirius is to look for Orion’s Belt, it always points towards the New Year’s Star! 

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