It has been 38 years since there was a full moon on Christmas Day.
There is an extra special treat in store for Christmas Day this year – a full moon – something that hasn’t taken place on December 25th since 1977 and which won’t happen again until 2034.
There have in fact been only three Christmas full moons in the entire 20th century with the others being in 1901 and 1920. The last time it happened, in 1977, Star Wars had only just hit theaters a few months earlier – an interesting coincidence given Episode VII’s imminent release.
Full moons tend to occur around once per month but because a typical month is 30.44 days the timing shifts so that the full moon takes place approximately one day earlier each time around.
“As we look at the moon on such an occasion, it’s worth remembering that the moon is more than just a celestial neighbor,” said John Keller, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “The geologic history of the moon and Earth are intimately tied together such that the Earth would be a dramatically different planet without the moon.”
December’s full moon is known as the Cold Moon – an event also known as the Long Nights Moon by Native American cultures due to the winter solstice bringing about the longest night of the year.
Those hoping to catch a glimpse of this year’s festive full moon should set their alarm clocks for approximately 6:11am Eastern Time on Christmas morning.