Cold Moon 2020: Two Full Moons in December, Check Significance

The Moon reaches 100 percent illumination at the global time of 03:29 Universal Time on Wednesday, 30 December.

Published
Lifestyle
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The 13th and final lunar event of 2020 will be visible for two days. Known as the ‘Cold Moon’, the final full moon of the year will be visible on 29, 30 December and will be visible in India on the second day. Deemed the ‘Long Night Moon’, this month has also greeted us with a Total Solar Eclipse and the Great Conjunction.

Why Are There Two Full Moons in December?

The Moon reaches 100 percent illumination at the global time of 03:29 Universal Time on Wednesday, 30 December. That means that while Asia Pacific, Europe and Africa will have a Full Moon on that date, it actually occurs the day before for both South America and North America – at precisely 10:29 pm Eastern Standard Time and 7:29 pm Pacific Standard Time on Tuesday, 29 December, thus creating two Full Moon sightings.

Why Did 2020 Witness 13 Full Moons?

This Full Moon is special since it occurs every 2.7 years. Like our calendar/tropical year, The Moon follows its own year-known as a lunar year, which lasts precisely 354 days, 8 hours, 48 minutes, 34 seconds.

In that time, it takes 12 orbits around the Earth. The discrepancy of 11 days between our calendar year and the lunar calendar creates the “extra” Full Moon. 

This year was a leap year, which is kept to keep the calendar year synchronised with the astronomical year. For there to be 13 moons, the first Full Moon needs to occur in the first 11 days of an year.

The second Full Moon sighting on 30 December actually belongs in the 2021 astronomical year since astronomical seasons begin and end on solstices and equinoxes. The next Full Moon will be the “Wolf Moon”-also called the “Snow Moon” and the “Ice Moon”, and will occur on Thursday, 28 January 2021.

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