Rare Christmas full moon shines down

The last time there was a full moon on Christmas Day was almost forty years ago, in 1977. Make sure to look up to the skies tonight, as this rare event won’t happen again until 2034.

Öinen taivas Lappeenrannassa.
The moon from Helsinki on Christmas Eve.

Finland’s Ursa Astronomical Association, the oldest and largest amateur astronomy association in the country, states on its website that a full moon will shine down on Finland the night of December 25th. In southern Finland, the moon will be visible at a 47° altitude in the sky, and should remain visible all through the night.

Not since 1977 has a full moon dawned in the skies on Christmas. But this year, a bright full moon will be an added gift for the holidays.

December’s full moon, the last of the year, is called the Full Cold Moon because it occurs during the beginning of winter.

“As we look at the moon on such an occasion, it's worth remembering that the moon is more than just a celestial neighbour,” said John Keller of the US space programme NASA. “The geologic history of the moon and Earth are intimately tied together, such that the Earth would be a dramatically different planet without the moon.”

The next full Christmas moon will appear in 2034, and that’s a long time to wait, so take advantage of the opportunity to admire it tonight, if the skies above your location are clear.