Bundle Up for December's Full Cold Moon!
December’s full Moon rises on Wednesday, December 11, into Thursday, December 12, 2019. Plus, this month’s full Moon shines during the Geminid meteor showers! The original Old Farmer’s Almanac will reveal everything you need to know about the Full Cold Moon and what makes it special.
The Full Moon in December 2019
Technically, the full Moon reaches peak fullness at 12:12 A.M. EST on the 12th day of the 12th month (Thursday, December 12). In all time zones west, the Moon rises on Wednesday, December 11.
So, Wednesday evening will be the night that the celestial orb will appear the most illuminated.
Look for the full Moon to appear above the horizon just before sunset. To find the exact time that it will be visible in your area, consult our Moonrise Calculator.
What makes this full Moon special? It’s most distinctive for its high trajectory across the sky, causing the full Moon to sit above the horizon for a longer period of time.
Of course, this year also brings some shooting stars …
The Geminid Meteor Shower
The Geminids—the most active meteor shower of the year—give us another good reason to look skyward this month. They can be seen every night for a period of about two weeks in early to mid-December, but they typically look their best on the night of December 13, when the shower is most prolific.
Unfortunately, the bright Moon will be full just one night prior to the Geminids’ peak this year, which will make it a bit more difficult than usual to spot them. Nonetheless, it’s worth stepping out into the cold night air to look for meteors starting around 9 P.M. on Friday, December 13. Look away from the Moon towards the darkest part of the night sky. (Don’t forget to make a wish!)
Moon Phases for December
Below are the dates and times (in Eastern Time) of the Moon’s phases in December 2019. Click here to see the Moon phase dates and times for your location.
|First Quarter: December 4, 1:58 A.M.|
|Full Moon: December 12, 12:12 A.M.|
||Last Quarter: December 18, 11:57 P.M.|
|New Moon: December 26, 12:13 A.M.|
When is the next Full Moon? Consult our Full Moon Dates chart.
December Full Moon Names
- December’s full Moon has traditionally been known as the Full Cold Moon by some Native Americans tribes since this is the month that heralds in the cold winter season.
- This full Moon was also called the Long Nights Moon by Native American groups because it rose during the “longest” nights of the year, which are near the December 21 winter solstice. The “Long Nights Moon” name is also fitting because December’s full Moon shines above the horizon for a longer period of time that most moons.
- Ancient European pagans called it the “Moon Before Yule,” in honor of the Yuletide festival celebrating the return of the sun heralded by winter solstice.
See a full calendar year of full Moon names and their meanings.
Best Days in December 2019
Below are the best days for activities, based on the Moon’s sign and phase in December.
- 19, 20
- 18, 22
Traveling for pleasure:
- 15, 16
- If a snowstorm begins when the Moon is young, it will cease at moonrise.