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Jan Harris
Deputy Group Editor
6:00 PM 18th December 2021
nature

Watch Out For The Cold Moon This Weekend

Photo by Kym MacKinnon on Unsplash
Photo by Kym MacKinnon on Unsplash
The temperature in December begins to drop making it feel really cold and that is one reason why the last full moon of the year gets the name of the Cold Moon.

The full moon in December appears in the sky a few days before the shortest day and the longest night - the Winter Solstice which this year is on the 21 December.

Some Native American Tribes have also called the December Full Moon the ‘Long Nights Moon’ because it appears so near to the solstice.

Photo by Kym MacKinnon on Unsplash
Photo by Kym MacKinnon on Unsplash
Why a full moon?

A full moon occurs when the moon's earth-facing side is completely illuminated by the sun. Scientists say that when you see the moon looking really large as it rises in the sky your brain is actually playing a trick on you.

There are many reasons as to why this is, but the main theory is that when the moon is low on the horizon it can be compared to earthly things, like buildings and trees, and this is why it seems huge.

Every month of the year there is a full moon which illuminates the sky, each of which is given a different name.

Full Moons in 2021

Photo by Rob Harris
Photo by Rob Harris
Wolf Moon - January 28
Snow Moon - February 27
Pink Moon - April 26
Flower Moon - May 26
Strawberry Moon - June 24
Buck Moon - July 24
Sturgeon Moon - August 22
Harvest Moon - September 20
Hunter's Moon - October 20
Beaver Moon - November 19
Cold Moon - December 19


Why different names for the full moons

Every month of the year there is a full moon which illuminates our sky and each one gets a different name.

There are a total of 12 full moon phases during the annual lunar cycle plus the occasional Blue Moon and each full moon has a unique name, which is tied to the changing seasons, behaviour of the plants, animals, or weather during that month and reflects the landscape around us.

The names given to the full moons during the year are derived from the North American tribes who centuries ago kept track of the changing seasons by giving the Full Moons distinctive names depending on the time of year.

However the full moon names we now use also have Anglo-Saxon and Germanic roots.

Image by Henri Van Ham from Pixabay
Image by Henri Van Ham from Pixabay
Sleep and a full moon

Because the moon affects the tides, it is often said that full moons can also affect us. Issues with our immune system can be caused by lack of sleep or disturbed sleep. Some people find falling asleep harder during a full moon along with less time spent in a deep sleep. This lack of sleep can sometimes cause people to have worse headaches often called 'moon migraines'.

Tips for seeing a full moon

The peak of the Cold Moon will be at 4.35am on 19 December
Moons rise in the east and set in the west
If viewing from inside your house it is best to turn off lights so as to view the night sky
If outside it is best to go somewhere high so you can see the moon rise above the horizon
Viewing outside is the best and away from street lights and light pollution

Let's hope we get a clear crisp winter night to view the Cold Moon this weekend.

The next full moon will rise on the 17 January 2022 and is the Full Wolf Moon.