Published: Tue, December 29, 2020
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Final full moon of 2020 to appear in night sky this week

Final full moon of 2020 to appear in night sky this week

According to EarthSky, many people considered last year's December full moon to be the last full moon of the decade, but "purists" insist that the decade ends in 2020 and not in 2019.

Because it's the full moon closest to our recent Winter Solstice on December 21, this week's moon is also known as the Long Night Moon, marking the time of year when we have our shortest days and our longest and darkest nights.

The occurrence of a second full moon in October, known as a Blue Moon, meant 2020 had an extra full moon. The full moon's most popular names are associated with the time-keeping traditions by the Native American tribes, naming the moon's phases after changes in the landscape that occur every season.

The year 2020 has been phenomenal for sky-watchers and all who are enthusiastic about astronomical events.

The next full moon will take place on 28 January, 2021, peaking shortly after sunset, United Kingdom time. The Full Cold Moon, even, has different names given to it in different parts of the world. Is it actually the last full moon of the decade? It's also known as the Long Night Moon, because the nights are longer at this time of year close to the winter solstice. I tie these Moon names to the seasons rather than months (for reasons I have explained in earlier postings), so the names I use will be off a month from other sources until the summer of 2021.

When does Cold Moon appear in the sky?

Other names for the upcoming full moon include the Frost Exploding Trees Moon, Moon of the Popping Trees, Snow Moon and Winter Maker Moon.

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

What makes Cold Moon 2020 special? This results in the moon being visible over the horizon for a longer period of time. Post the event, the moon will be visible as a full-blown moon for the following three days. 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 12 months of the Gregorian calendar, used almost universally around the world, are based on the 12 lunar cycles that typically take place each year.

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