The moon will ‘appear’ full tonight in Ontario

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Published December 25, 2023 at 11:55 am

The moon will look full tonight, adding the perfect touch to the holiday ambiance.

The “Cold Moon” as dubbed by the Farmer’s Almanac will be at its fullest and brightest on Boxing Day (Dec. 26) at approximately 10:33 p.m.— though it will appear to look full tonight.

As per Space.com, full moon names match the seasons. The Harvest Moon signals the end of the growing season, and the Cold Moon brightens December nights. This is especially true in the Northern Hemisphere.

The website further 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.

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

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

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.

Residents can anticipate above-seasonal warmth at 8°C today. Whether holiday plans are in the cards or not, seize the moment to venture outside and gaze up at the last full moon of the year lighting up the sky.

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