Nov 16, 2018 | Updated: 03:14 AM EDT

Rare Cold Moon Set To Appear On Christmas Day

Dec 21, 2015 11:00 PM EST

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According to NASA, this would be the first time in decades that a full Moon will light up the pre-dawn sky on Christmas Day. The last time this happened was Dec. 25, 1977.

The full Moon is reported to peak on Friday at 3:11 a.m., Pacific Time. NASA reported this event on its official website. The space agency even called it "an added gift for the holidays."

The last time this happened was back in Christmas 1977, almost 40 years ago. This phenomenon is called the "Cold Moon" in folklore. The reason for the name is the occurrence of the "Cold Moon" that happens during the beginning of winter season in the northern hemisphere. The next Cold Moon will happen on Dec. 25, 2034, closer than you might expect.

"That's a long time to wait, so make sure to look up to the skies on Christmas Day," NASA's website stated. With the naked eye, the Moon will be gorgeous to look at. But in order to truly appreciate this happening, one must use a telescope because the lunar valleys, hills and craters are much visible this time.  

"As we look at the moon on such an occasion, it's worth remembering that the moon is more than just a celestial neighbor," NASA's John Keller said. "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 full Moon will rise early on Christmas night and is visible high overhead for an entire night. It is also worth noting that the Moon is slowly moving away from Earth at the rate of 3.8 cm a year. When the Moon was initially formed, it was just 22,000 kilometers away. Today, the total distance between Earth and Moon is at 380,000 kilometers.

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