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  • Writer's pictureLolly Spence

2020.12.29 Cold Moon, December 2020

Hello everyone. I hope you've all been outside to look at the 13th and final full moon of the 2020 calendar year. It is also, strictly speaking, the first of the new astronomical year (since the solstice was on 21st December, the longest night marking the start of winter)....

Tonight's huge, white, astonishingly bright moon is known as the ‘Cold Moon’ and since it's one degree out there right now, it's not hard to know why. There are alternative names including the "Oak Moon"; the pagan name “Moon After Yule”; or the Mohican name “Long Nights Moon”.

More obscure tribal names for the December moon include Drift Clearing Moon, Hoar Frost Moon, Snow Moon and Winter Maker Moon.

This is the month when the moon rides highest in the sky, taking a more northerly trajectory opposite to a low Sun and passing as close to the zenith (the point in the sky directly overhead) as it ever does.

All this means that December's moon is above the horizon longer than at other times of the year - more than 15 hours from tonight into tomorrow morning, making it the longest full moon of the year. And if you miss it, it will also look fab tomorrow night....

(Cold Moon in Romania, photography by Orsi Ka)

This Cold Moon comes in the wake of that spectacular “Christmas Star” or “great conjunction” of planets that I was talking about just before Christmas - exciting times in the night skies, I wonder what they herald.

The next full Moon will be the “Wolf Moon” on Thursday 28th January 2021. I hope it will be shining down on a better world with vaccines for the vulnerable, an end to hospital chaos, and an end in sight after the challenges of 2020. More immediately, I also hope by then to have a better camera for photographing the moon

I will be posting again in a day or two because the new moon heralds the next Celtic 'tree' in that particular calendar; but for now, I am going to wrap up warm and head back out to moon-gaze - wishing you all the Happiest, Healthiest and most normal of New Years and peace and love in 2021.

Hugs to all, xoxo

PS. A very random moon fact that I read this week is that the Chinese goddess of the Moon, Chang'e, is believed to live on the Moon with her pet rabbit, Yutu. Heehee.

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