The December full Moon, which rises today on December 12 is also known as Cold Moon. The full Moon will rise just after midnight at 12.12AM (EST). So on 12/12 at 12.12 am, we will get the last full Moon for the year 2019 and for the decade a well. According to NASA, the full Moon is also known as the Cold Moon in the Maine Farmer’s Almanac, which is the first published Indian names for full moons.
Other names for this December full moon are Oak Moon, Moon before Yule, Long Night Moon, Uduvapa Poya, the Karthikai Deepam Moon in India. NASA has also called it the Chang’e Moon after the two Chinese lunar landers.
The Moon will be full after midnight on Thursday morning, December 12, 2019, appearing “opposite” the Sun (in Earth based longitude) at 12:12 AM EST, according to NASA. The full Moon will appear for three days centered on this time till Friday morning.
The Moon will be in the sky for a total of 14 hours 58 minutes, and due to this December 11 to 12, 2019 will be the longest full Moon night of the year, revealed NASA.
What is a full Moon?
The full Moon takes places when the entire surface of the satellite appears to be illuminated by the sun from Earth’s perspective. A full Moon occurs nearly once a month, and this happens when the moon has moved 180 degrees, and the sun, Earth and moon form a line. The moon appears to be fully illuminated in the sky, hence it is called a full Moon.
The many names of the December Full Moon
The full Moon of December holds significance in many cultures and is known by different names. The Algonquin tribes of northern and eastern United States called it the Cold Moon, possibly due to the long and cold nights of December.
In India, it is also known as Karthikai Deepam in Tamil Nadu. Other names are Karthikai Vilakkidu or Thrikarthika. This festival is celebrated when the nearly full Moon lines up with the Pleiades constellation (Karttikai) in the sky.
An older European name for this the Oak Moon. Europeans also called this the Moon before Yule, according to NASA, which was three-day winter solstice festival. It is also called the Long Night Moon in Europe.
In Sri Lanka, it is called Uduvapa Poya to celebrate the planting of a sapling from the sacred Bodhi Tree in the city of Anuradhapura by Princess Sanghamitta, the eldest daughter of the Emperor Ashoka, who spread the teachings of Buddha in Sri Lanka.
NASA is also calling this the Chang’e Moon, after the two Chinese lunar landers that launched in December 2013 and 2018. These missions are named after the Chinese goddess of the Moon, Chang’e.