A full moon on Christmas Day will be the first in 38 years, scientists have reported, urging astronomy enthusiasts not to miss the exceptional event.
This moon phase hasn’t coincided with the much-awaited celebration of Christ’s birth ever since 1977, and according to calculations this incredibly rare occurrence, will repeat itself as late as 2034. Afterwards, the event will follow a more clearly detectable pattern, occurring one every 19 years, in 2053 and 2072.
As predicted by Fred Espenak, a renowned, currently retired astrophysicist who worked for NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center from 1978 until 2009, the full moon will be observed on the early morning of December 25, at approximately 6:11 a.m. EST. (11:11 GMT).
Like the Farmer’s Almanac explains, when the moon enters this stage during the month of December, this is called a Full Cold moon, also known as a Full Long Nights moon.
Indeed, this year the astronomical phenomenon will occur just 3 days following the winter solstice, when the day is at its shortest and the night is at its longest.
Moreover, the December sky show is described at times as the Moon before Yule, in honor of the pagan festival observed by ancient Germanic tribes so as to celebrate the impending rebirth of the sun, following its demise. Yule was eventually assimilated with Christmas, around 300 years after Jesus Christ died and was resurrected.
Therefore, nicknaming the upcoming full moon as the Moon before Yule seems the most fitting, given that the earth’s natural satellite will be high in the sky, right on Christmas morning, its dazzling light assisting Santa Claus in his magical mission of delivering presents to millions of kids across the world.
Meanwhile, the sun will be lying quite low, on the opposite side of the Earth, allowing the moon to be brightly illuminated.
As meteorologists explain, no snow is anticipated this Christmas, since temperatures are expected to be excessively elevated for this time of the year.
This weekend for instance, it has been forecasted that in the eastern part of the nation temperatures will be more reminiscent of the month of October, reaching up to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, which is approximately 20 to 30 degrees higher than normal.
Given this unusually warm weather, probably triggered by an incredibly powerful El Niño making its presence felt this year, it appears quite incongruous to refer to the upcoming phenomenon as a Full Cold moon.
Nevertheless, the incredibly rare occurrence will hopefully be a worthy replacement for those who were seeking to witness a magnificent sky spectacle on Christmas day.
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