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Full ‘cold moon’ shines bright and eclipses Mars in rare event

Full ‘cold moon’ shines bright and eclipses Mars in rare event

Full ‘cold moon’ shines bright and eclipses Mars in rare event

Full ‘cold moon’ shines bright and eclipses Mars in rare event

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  • The full moon of December, also known as the “cold moon,” will shine brightly in the night sky.
  • Around the moon’s fullness, a lunar occultation of Mars will occur.
  • There will be views of this unique event throughout sections of the Americas, Europe, and Africa.
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This Wednesday, at its peak at 11:08 p.m. ET, the full moon of December, also referred to as the ‘cold moon’ will shine brightly in the night sky.

According to EarthSky, Wednesday’s night sky will also include Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars. An extremely rare event known as a lunar occultation of Mars is scheduled to occur around the moon’s maximum fullness.

At this point, for a little moment, the red planet will vanish behind the moon. There will be views of this incredibly unique event throughout sections of the Americas, Europe, and Northern Africa.

On December 7, it will be 50 years since NASA’s Apollo 17 mission, which was the final time that people stepped foot on the moon. Therefore, this year’s cold moon gives viewers the chance to both take in a lunar spectacle and think back on the incredible space exploration that humanity has accomplished.

“When you look up at the moon, you should appreciate that it’s not only beautiful … but that it’s a very scientifically important object,” said Dr. Noah Petro, chief of NASA’s planetary geology, geophysics and geochemistry lab.

“There is no other planet in our solar system that has a moon quite like ours. It is unique in many, many ways, and we, as a society, the whole of humanity, are very fortunate to have it literally in our backyard.”

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According to the Western Washington Planetarium website, the Mohawk people were calling the full moon in December “tsothohrha,” or “time of cold,” in reference to the chilly weather it would typically bring. The Mohawks named each full moon in order to keep track of the months, just as many other Native American tribes.

According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, this full moon has also been referred to as the “moon before Yule” in Europe to commemorate the Yuletide festival and the “long night moon” by the Mohicans because of its proximity to the winter solstice, the longest night of the year, which falls on December 21 this year.

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