The longest — and last — full moon of the year will emerge tonight and peak on Sunday.
The Cold Moon will begin its stretch as the last full moon of the year at 11:36 p.m. EST on Saturday, according to NASA. However, because the timing is so near to midnight, most parts of the world will likely observe it early Sunday morning.
It is also the longest full moon of the year. With the winter solstice starting just a day after the full moon ends — at 10:59 EST on Tuesday — the Cold Moon will be in the sky for a record length of time, NASA said. In Washington, D.C., where NASA headquarters is located, it will be out for 15 hours 33 minutes overnight Saturday.
The moon will appear full for the whole weekend, making this a “full moon weekend.” It will be easy to view both nights if the sky is clear, NASA said.
The Maine Farmers’ Almanac first named the moon in the 1930s, when the almanacs began publishing Native American names for moons. The Cold Moon is named for December’s cold, lengthy nights, and boasts name variations like the Frost Moon or the Winter Moon.
Since this is the last full moon before the winter solstice, it is said that old Europeans called this moon the Oak Moon, which ties back to ancient druid traditions of harvesting mistletoe from oak trees.