Thursday, December 15, 2005

A very special full moon!

Here on the Pacific coast, the Moon was full this morning at 8:16 AM. Tonight and tomorrow, those of us with cloudless skies will get a real treat as the Moon travels across the heavens on its highest path since 1987.

The Moon will rise at 4:10 p.m. (all times Pacific) in the northeast and will reach its peak altitude of 72 degrees above the horizon at about 12:41 a.m. on Friday morning. It will set at 9:12 a.m. on Friday, allowing 17 full hours of lunar viewing.

December’s full moon is always a “tall” one, but this year the Moon is nearing the peak of what astronomers call a major lunar standstill cycle. Lunar standstills occur every two weeks, when the full or new Moon reaches its northernmost or southernmost point in the night sky. But a major lunar standstill occurs only every 18.6 years.

December’s full moons have many names, including the Full Cold Moon, Wolf Moon, Full Long Nights Moon.


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