PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Portlanders can take a look at December’s full moon, commonly known as the Cold Moon, on Wednesday, Dec. 7.
Full moons have Native American names, typically related to the lunar month in which they occur. The Cold Moon is fitting for December which is the mark of meteorological winter. Some also refer to it as the Long Night Moon, since December’s full moon lasts longer than those that occur in other months.
According to OMSI’s Director of Space Science Education Jim Todd, the Cold Moon will rise on the northeastern horizon at 3:59 p.m. before the sun sets at 4:27 p.m.
“The moon will be above the famous winter constellation of Taurus, the Bull. At 12:10 a.m., the moon will be 70 degrees above the southern horizon, its highest altitude for the year,” Todd said.
The Old Farmer’s Almanac reports that the Cold Moon will reach peak illumination at 8:09 p.m. on Wednesday night.
This will also be a big evening for planet Mars. Mars entered retrograde just before Halloween on Oct. 30, changing from its typical eastward movement to westward movement. And on Dec. 7, Mars and the sun will be on opposite sides of Earth shortly after the full moon reaches its peak.
On this same night, the full moon will pass in front of Mars — and this can be seen from Portland.
“At 6:30 p.m. on December 7, look for the moon and Mars at an altitude of 22 degrees above the eastern horizon. You will see this bright orange-colored Mars just to the lower left of the moon. Please note, the nearby bright red star is Aldebaran of Taurus to the far right of the moon. The Pleiades star cluster will be high above the moon and Mars,” Todd said.