Last full moon of 2023 will be on Boxing Day in Ontario

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Published December 2, 2023 at 10:51 am

The last full moon of the year will peak on Boxing Day.

The “Cold Moon” as dubbed by the Farmer’s Almanac will be at its fullest and brightest on Dec. 26 at approximately 10:33 p.m. However, it will “appear” to look full on Christmas day—adding the perfect touch to the holiday ambiance.

According to Space.com, full moon names often tie in with seasonal cues, such as the Harvest Moon marking the end of the growing season in September or October, and the Cold Moon illuminating frosty December nights. This alignment is particularly noteworthy in the Northern Hemisphere.

The website also notes that most of the time, the full moon isn’t perfectly full.

“We always see the same side of the moon, but part of it is in shadow, due to the moon’s rotation. Only when the moon, Earth and the sun are perfectly aligned is the moon 100% full, and that alignment produces a lunar eclipse,” Space.com says.

This year there were two lunar eclipses. The penumbral lunar eclipse  occurred on May 5 presenting a subtle phenomenon as the moon traversed the outermost edge of Earth’s shadow. The eclipse, lasting Four hours and eighteen minutes as per science.nasa.gov was visible from South/East Europe, a substantial part of Asia, Australia, and Africa.

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The partial lunar eclipse on Oct. 18 graced the skies of Ontario, offering sky watchers a chance to witness the celestial spectacle. The entire event spanned Four hours and twenty-five minutes, reaching its peak at 3:14 p.m.

Solar eclipses, as reported by science.nasa.gov, occur when the moon obstructs the sun. Two such occurrences took place this year.

A hybrid solar eclipse on April 20 and an annular solar eclipse on Oct. 14. The hybrid eclipse briefly showed a  “ring of fire” over oceans, while the annular eclipse on Oct. 14 was observed across parts of North America, Central America, and South America.

There are four phases of the moon, new moon, first quarter moon, full moon and third quarter moon.

These phases unfold as the moon orbits Earth, revealing varying degrees of illumination. Beginning with the new moon in darkness, it progresses to the first quarter with a half-illuminated glow; it reaches the full moon in complete radiance, and transitions to the third quarter with the opposite half shining. Despite potential variations in rising times, the shifts between these phases are often subtle and go unnoticed by casual observers on consecutive nights, Space.com reports.

Whatever your holiday plans, consider casting your gaze to the sky for the final full moon of the year.

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