The last full moon of the decade will occur tonight, at 12:12 am Eastern time on December 12. It's called the full "cold moon".

The Moon will appear full all night, first becoming visible in the east with a saffron-colored tinge as it climbs just above the horizon. The Moon rises at 4:35 pm in Washington, 5:18 pm in Atlanta, and at 5:08 pm in Oklahoma City.

That's also within 15 minutes of sunset for each city; full moons, since they're opposite the sun in our sky, always rise at sunset. Full moons appear fully illuminated to us Earth-dwellers since the side catching the sunlight is facing us. That means the Sun, Moon and Earth are all in a nearly perfect lineup.

The Moon will emerge into the sky at 99.9 percent illumination, peaking briefly at full brilliance at 12:12 am Eastern Thursday (9:12 pm Pacific). By moonset (which will occur shortly after sunrise Thursday morning), the Moon will be back down to 99.9 percent full. Its radiance will continue to dwindle, waning until the new moon occurs on Christmas night.

According to The Old Farmer's Almanac the full moon of December was named the full Cold Moon, as it is associated with cold winter nights in the Northern Hemisphere.

Saturn will appear less than two degrees away from Venus, a phenomenon called conjunction, or a planetary “kiss.” As morning twilight begins, Mercury will appear just above the horizon, followed by Mars. If you aren’t able to run outside to see the bright, full moon at midnight, it will still appear full through Friday morning, just before the peak of the Geminid meteor shower. The next full moon, the Wolf Moon, will be back January 10.

December Full Moon Names From Native American Tribes

Kaitvitjuitk (Inuit). Cold Moon (Celtic). Night Moon (Taos). Respect Moon (Hopi). Bitter Moon (Chinese). Peach Moon (Choctaw). Twelfth Moon (Dakotah). Big Winter Moon (Creek) Real Goose Moon (Kiowa). Cold Time Moon (Mohawk). Ashes Fire Moon (San Juan). Oak Moon (Medieval English). Big Bear’s Moon (Winnebago). Long Night Moon (Neo-Pagan). Popping Trees Moon (Arapaho). Running Wolves Moon (Cheyenne). Frost Fish Moon (Passamaquoddy). Cold Moon, Long Nights Moon (Algonquin). Snow Moon, Before Yule Moon (Cherokee). Oak Moon : Full, : Snow Moon Dark (Janic). Popping Tress Moon, Deer Horn Shedding Moon (Sioux).

Other moon names : Wolf Moon, Turning Moon, Heavy Snow Moon, Aerra Geola, Under Burn Moon, Big Winter Moon, Winter Maker Moon, Yellow Leaves Moon, Little Finger Moon, Mid-Winter Moon, Wintermonat, Small Spirits Moon.


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