Full moon on Christmas has not occurred since 1977, but this year it will illuminate the sky on the 25th. Be prepared, because it will not happen again until 2034, scientists say.
Fred Espenak, an astrophysicist, and eclipse and moon expert at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, said that a very rare astronomical event will occur on Christmas morning this year: a full moon that will reach its peak size.
The last full moon that occurred on Christmas day was back in 1977 when the first PCs (personal computers) were just being launched onto the market. “Star Wars” also hit theatres for the first time on May 25, 1977. The same year, NASA’s first Space Shuttle Enterprise performed its first test flights from the back of a modified Boeing 747; the space shuttle never made it to space.
Although full moon on Christmas day has not happened for nearly four decades, scientists say that the event is by no means unusual. During any 59-year period, full moons will occur two times on the same day (on average). The next full moon to appear on Christmas Day will only happen in 2034, according to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
Once a month, the moon will show its full face to planet Earth. However, each successive month, the full moon occurs about one day earlier. That is because the Moon’s cycle repeats every 29.53 days, while the average month is approximately 30.44 days.
The last full moon of the year, which appears in December, is known as the Cold Moon. Some Native American cultures refer to it as the Long Night Moon, because the Winter Solstice – which usually takes place on December 20, 21, 22 or 23 – occurs around the same time, marking the longest night and the shortest day of the year.
The Moon reached its fool phase earlier this year, as it got the closes point in its orbit to Earth. It was called the “supermoon”, and the rare event was shared by people across the globe.
On Christmas Morning, December 25, at 6:11 a.m. Eastern time you should head outside to see the full moon at its biggest size.
Image Source: image.nj