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Last full moon of 2023: What to know about December’s Cold Moon + how to see it in NC

If you’ve ever seen a Christmas movie featuring Santa, you’re probably familiar with the image of his sleigh flying through the night sky with a full moon in the background.

Full moons occur about once every 30 days, 100% of its nearside is illuminated by the sun.

This year, the full moon in December, sometimes referred to as the “Cold Moon,” will light up the sky a few days after Santa is finished delivering presents.

Here’s when the full moon occurs in December, the origins of the name “Cold Moon” and when the moon will appear in the sky that day in North Carolina.

When is the full moon in December 2023?

The next full moon will occur on Dec. 27, two days after Christmas, according to NASA.

The full moon will be accompanied by a partial lunar eclipse, the Indy Star reported, when it passes through the only part of Earth’s shadow, making it appear reddish in color.

Why is it called the Cold Moon?

According to the Farmers’ Almanac, the name “Cold Moon” is traditionally used by North American tribes and Celtic culture.

The term is used in December since it’s the month that signifies the start of winter, when the coldest temperatures arrive in the Northern Hemisphere, the almanac says.

The official start of winter, or the winter solstice, is on Dec. 21 at 10:27 p.m., according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac.

When is the best time to see the full moon in NC?

According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, moonrise for the Charlotte area will happen by roughly 5:49 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 26, and sets at 8:21 a.m. Wednesday.

In Raleigh, the moon will rise 11 minutes earlier, and set at 8:14 the next morning, the almanac says.