How to see the Christmas ‘cold moon’ — the last full moon of the year

Dec 24, 2023, 5:43 PM

A formation of geese fly in for a landing on Dec. 9, 2022 with last full moon — or "cold moon" — behind them.

(CNN) — The final full moon of 2023 will peer over the horizon on Monday, the night of Christmas, and reach its peak the following evening — offering a warm lunar glow during the cool holiday nights.

December’s full moon could appear wholly round to the naked eye as early as Sunday and will continue illuminating the night sky for a few evenings after it reaches its maximum fullness on Tuesday at 7:33 p.m. ET, according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac.

Naming winter’s first full moon

This month’s full moon is also known as the “cold moon,” a term coined by Native Americans — specifically the Mohawk people — in reference to the cooler temperatures typically associated with December in the Northern Hemisphere. (Though climate change is quickly making the winter months warmer.)

Other names for the final full moon of the year include the “Snow Moon,” the “Winter Maker Moon,” and even the “Moon When the Deer Shed Their Antlers,” a nod to the fact that the antlers of many deer species — including deer, elk, moose and caribou — begin to fall off around this time as breeding season comes to a close. The animals will grow another, usually larger, set next year.

(Notably, only female caribou retain their antlers by Christmas time. And that means Santa’s reindeer, which are domesticated caribou, can be identified as female.)

Seeing the spectacle

This month’s full moon will also be the first to appear since the winter solstice, which occurred on December 21 and marks the shortest day of the year.

“The winter solstice Moon takes the highest path along the sky and is above the horizon longer than any Moon — hence, it’s the longest night,” according to the Almanac.

And because the full cold moon is occurring so close to the solstice, the long nights will offer ample viewing opportunities.

Sky-gazers can catch a glimpse of the massive moon anywhere with a clear view of the sky. Though for best viewing, onlookers can search for unobstructed views of the horizon.

KSL 5 TV Live

National News

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at a primary election night ...

Eric Bradner and Daniel Strauss, CNN

Trump wins all delegates at stake in Michigan GOP convention amid leadership battle

Former President Donald Trump won all 39 delegates at stake at a Michigan Republican convention Saturday, as officials there sought to move past a leadership battle that has split the state party into rival factions.

9 hours ago

Workers clear snow in a residential neighborhood, Saturday, March 2, 2024, in Truckee, Calif. (AP P...

Brooke Hess and Ken Ritter, The Associated Press

A massive blizzard howls in the Sierra Nevada. High winds and heavy snow close roads and ski resorts

A powerful blizzard that a meteorologist termed “as bad as it gets” howled in the Sierra Nevada mountains, closing a long stretch of Interstate 80 in Northern California, forcing ski resorts to shut down, and leaving thousands of homes without power.

11 hours ago

People inspect damage and recover items from their homes following Israeli air strikes on February ...

Waafa Shurafa and Samy Magdy

U.S. says Israel has agreed to the framework for a Gaza cease-fire. Hamas now must decide

A senior U.S. official says Israel has essentially endorsed a framework of a proposed Gaza cease-fire and hostage release deal, and it is now up to Hamas to agree to it.

20 hours ago

yellow tape crossing blue and red lights...

Associated Press

Body parts of 2 people found in Long Island park and police are trying to identify them

Police on New York's Long Island were trying to identify human remains found in a popular suburban park that appear to be from a man and a woman.

21 hours ago

A vehicle drives through blowing snow near Interstate 80 (I-80) in the Sierra Nevada mountains at t...

Scott Sonner

Powerful storm in California and Nevada shuts interstate and dumps snow on mountains

Tens of thousands of customers are without power early Saturday and a 100-mile stretch of Interstate 80 remains closed indefinitely.

1 day ago

FILE: Ballots are counted by Maricopa County Elections Department staff ahead of Tuesdays election ...

Associated Press

Arizona’s new voting laws that require proof of citizenship are not discriminatory, a US judge rules

A U.S. district judge has ruled Arizona legislators did not discriminate when they adopted laws requiring counties to verify the status of registered voters who haven’t provided proof of U.S. citizenship.

1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

How to see the Christmas ‘cold moon’ — the last full moon of the year