The last full moon of 2022, the “cold moon”, will be at its best next week when it rises in the east just as the sun sets in the west.
For some observers in North America, it will also do something very unusual by moving to Mars to completely block it from view for a short time – and at almost exactly the same time the red planet shines at its peak for 26 months. . This lunar occultation is a very, very rare event.
Here’s everything you need to know about the full “Cold Moon,” including exactly when, where, and how to see it in its biggest, brightest, and most colorful form from where you are:
December Full Moon Names
The December full moon is also sometimes called the “Long Nights Moon”, the “Pre Yule Moon”, the “Wolf Moon” in Celtic countries (a name given to the January full moon in North America) and the “moon of the oak”.
When is the ‘Cold Moon?’
The “Cold Moon” will be full at 04:09 UTC, December 8, 2022. This translates to 11:09 p.m. EDT and 8:09 p.m. PDT the day before December 7, 2022 in North America.
What is the Lunar Occultation of Mars?
The Moon occults a planet several times a year, seen from somewhere on Earth. But a full Moon eclipsing Mars near its brightest once every 26 months? It’s a rare set of circumstances. That’s exactly what’s happening on December 7 and 8, 2022, but only for those who live in central, western, and southwestern North America (December 7) and Western Europe. and North (December 8). See the map here.
Why catch the “cold moon” at moonrise
Full moons are most easily seen at moonrise, which occurs at dusk in the eastern sky almost opposite a setting sun in the west. Catch it as it rises and the full “Cold Moon” will be both more colorful and larger than it will be at any other time of the night, but only for about 15 minutes. It’s also more impactful because it’s seen at dusk, not in the dark.
Watch a moonrise
The full moon is always best seen when it rises, as it is only on the night of the full moon that it is possible to see the moon appear on the horizon during twilight. Since it usually rises about 50 minutes later each night, it therefore rises in the early evening just before the full moon night and well after dark on the nights after the full moon.
Best time to see the “Cold Moon”
Here are the exact times to view the December “Cold Moon” from a few key cities, but check the exact moonrise and moonset times for your location. If you don’t see the full moon appear above the horizon at these specific times, wait a few minutes. it will go up!
Just after sunset on Thursday, December 8, 2022
Although the full moon officially occurs on Wednesday, Thursday evening offers the best opportunity to see the full “cold moon” rise in a twilight sky (on Wednesday it will rise before sunset):
- In New York, sunset is 4:28 p.m. EDT and moonrise is 4:41 p.m. EDT (full moon time is 11:09 p.m. EDT the previous evening).
- In Los Angeles, sunset is 4:44 p.m. PDT and moonrise is 5:07 p.m. PDT (full moon time is 8:09 p.m. PDT the night before).
- In London, sunset is at 3:52 p.m. GMT and moonrise just before is at 3:41 p.m. GMT (the time of the full moon is at 4:09 a.m. GMT).
Just after sunset on Friday, December 9, 2022
Friday evening offers another opportunity to see the full “Cold Moon” rise in twilight for those in Europe:
- In London, sunset is at 3:52 p.m. GMT and moonrise is at 4:25 p.m. GMT, around dusk.
Where to see the “Cold Moon”
The last full moon of the northern hemisphere fall season, the “Cold Moon” will rise in the east just after sunset, shine all night then set in the west near sunrise .
How to see the “Cold Moon”
You don’t need any special equipment to see the full moon. Your own unaided eyes are perfect. However, if you have a pair of binoculars, they will give you a stunning close-up. It’s perfectly safe.
You will more easily see it appear on the horizon if you arrive somewhere high, or go to a coast with a clear view of the horizon.
Why the “Cold Moon” will be orange
Have you ever heard of the “Raleigh Diffusion?” Long-wavelength red light travels more easily through Earth’s atmosphere than short-wavelength blue light, which hits more particles and scatters. So a rising full moon looks orange because you see it through a lot of atmosphere – for the same reason a setting sun looks reddish.
When is the next full moon?
The next full moon after the “cold moon” is the full “wolf moon” on January 6, 2023 – the first full moon of winter and the first of 13 full moons in 2023.
I wish you clear skies and big eyes.
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