Final full 'Cold' moon of 2020 peaks TONIGHT across the world


Stargazers were treated to a final astronomical sight on Tuesday night as the final full moon of the year shone down on the planet with some spectacular photographs taken from coast to coast across the U.S. 

The ‘Cold Moon’ reached peak illumination at 10:30pm ET (3:30am GMT).  The moon was in the sky for a full 15 hours until the early hours of Wednesday morning, making it the longest full moon of the year.

The nickname comes from the Native American tribe the Mohwaks and refers to the dropping temperatures in December that means winter has arrived.  

The last full moon of 2020, also known as the Cold Moon, rises behind the snow-topped San Gabriel Mountains and the Los Angeles downtown skyline at sunset as seen from the Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area in Los Angeles

The last full moon of 2020, also known as the Cold Moon, rises behind the snow-topped San Gabriel Mountains and the Los Angeles downtown skyline at sunset as seen from the Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area in Los Angeles

A woman tries to take a picture of the full moon known as Cold Moon as it rises behind One World Trade Center, viewed from Jersey City, New Jersey

A woman tries to take a picture of the full moon known as Cold Moon as it rises behind One World Trade Center, viewed from Jersey City, New Jersey

The last Full 'Cold Moon' of 2020 is pictured in the sky in Philadelphia

The last Full ‘Cold Moon’ of 2020 is pictured in the sky in Philadelphia

The 'Cold Moon' will rose out of the northeastern with peak illumination at 10:30pm ET (3:30am GMT) on Tuesday evening. Pictured is how the full moon appeared in St. Petersburg, Russia

The ‘Cold Moon’ will rose out of the northeastern with peak illumination at 10:30pm ET (3:30am GMT) on Tuesday evening. Pictured is how the full moon appeared in St. Petersburg, Russia 

The full moon is seen rising behind electricity pylons in Ankara, Turkey on Tuesday

The full moon is seen rising behind electricity pylons in Ankara, Turkey on Tuesday

The full moon rises over Turkish capital Ankara on December 29

The full moon rises over Turkish capital Ankara on December 29

NASA’s Gordon Johnston wrote in a recent blog post: ‘This year moonlight will interfere with viewing the annual Quadrantid meteor shower, expected to be active from 28 December, 2020, through 12 January 2021, peaking on the morning of 3 January 2021.’

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The last full moon of the year has a variety of names, depending on your location.

It is sometimes referred to as the Full Long Night’s Moon, which refers to ‘the midwinter night is indeed long, and because the moon is above the horizon for a long time,’ according to the Farmer’s Almanac.

‘The midwinter full moon has a high trajectory across the sky because it is opposite a low sun.’

The full moon easily competes with some of the bright lights of the Financial District in New York City

The full moon easily competes with some of the bright lights of the Financial District in New York City

People watch as the full moon rises over snow covered mountains, behind downtown Los Angeles

People watch as the full moon rises over snow covered mountains, behind downtown Los Angeles

The moon rises in the eastern sky over the mountains that border Los Angeles

The moon rises in the eastern sky over the mountains that border Los Angeles 

The moon is pictured passing by the antenna located at the top of One World Trade Center in New York on Tuesday night

The moon is pictured passing by the antenna located at the top of One World Trade Center in New York on Tuesday night

The nickname comes from the Native American tribe the Mohwaks and refers to the dropping temperatures in December that means winter has arrived. Pictured, the full moon hanging over Maryland

The nickname comes from the Native American tribe the Mohwaks and refers to the dropping temperatures in December that means winter has arrived. Pictured, the full moon hanging over Maryland

A 'Cold Moon' the last full moon of 2020 rises over the snow capped Curbar Edge, in the Peak District on Tuesday

A ‘Cold Moon’ the last full moon of 2020 rises over the snow capped Curbar Edge, in the Peak District on Tuesday

Another nickname comes for European pagans who called it the Moon before Yule.

This full moon was a celebration of winter solstice that marks the start of winter.

In the southern hemisphere, where the seasons are flipped, the full December moon is often called the Strawberry Moon, Honey Moon or Rose Moon.

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Johnston notes that it could also be called the Chang’e Moon, following China’s three successful lunar landers that launched around this time of year.  

‘These missions get their name from the Chinese goddess of the Moon, Chang’e, who lived on the Moon with her pet rabbit, Yutu,’ Johnston writes.

‘The Chang’e 3 lander and its companion Yutu rover launched on December 1 and landed on the Moon on December 14 2013.’

A full moon appears at sunset over the town of Anguillara Sabazia, Lazio in Italy

A full moon appears at sunset over the town of Anguillara Sabazia, Lazio in Italy

The full moon is seen in Ankara, Turkey behind a Christmas tree on Tuesday night

The full moon is seen in Ankara, Turkey behind a Christmas tree on Tuesday night

The last full moon of 2020 rises behind the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City

The last full moon of 2020 rises behind the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City

The moon was in the sky for more than 15 hours from Tuesday evening into Wednesday morning, making it the longest full moon of the year. The moon is seen setting behind a hill on the morning of December 29 in Chile

The moon was in the sky for more than 15 hours from Tuesday evening into Wednesday morning, making it the longest full moon of the year. The moon is seen setting behind a hill on the morning of December 29 in Chile

Pictured is an image from NASA showing how the moon looked on Tuesday evening

Pictured is an image from NASA showing how the moon looked on Tuesday evening

‘The Chang’e 4 lander and its companion Yutu-2 rover launched December 7, 2018 and landed January 3, 2019.’

‘The Chang’e 5 lunar sample return mission launched on November 23 (in UTC, November 24 in China’s time zone) and returned its samples to the Earth on December 16, 2020, humanity’s first lunar sample return since 1976.’ 

The moon will appear full until Thursday morning and the next time a full moon appears January 28, which is called the ‘Full Wolf Moon.’

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SCIENTISTS DON’T AGREE ON HOW THE MOON FORMED BUT MANY BELIEVE IT WAS THE RESULT OF AN IMPACT BETWEEN EARTH AND ANOTHER PLANET

Many researchers believe the moon formed after Earth was hit by a planet the size of Mars billions of years ago.

This is called the giant impact hypothesis.

The theory suggests the moon is made up of debris left over following a collision between our planet and a body around 4.5 billion years ago.

The colliding body is sometimes called Theia, after the mythical Greek Titan who was the mother of Selene, the goddess of the moon.

Many researchers believe the moon formed after Earth was hit by a planet the size of Mars billions of years ago. This is called the giant impact hypothesis

Many researchers believe the moon formed after Earth was hit by a planet the size of Mars billions of years ago. This is called the giant impact hypothesis

But one mystery has persisted, revealed by rocks the Apollo astronauts brought back from the moon: Why are the moon and Earth so similar in their composition?

Several different theories have emerged over the years to explain the similar fingerprints of Earth and the moon.

Perhaps the impact created a huge cloud of debris that mixed thoroughly with the Earth and then later condensed to form the moon.

Or Theia could have, coincidentally, been chemically similar to young Earth.

A third possibility is that the moon formed from Earthen materials, rather than from Theia, although this would have been a very unusual type of impact.



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