What Is The Moon Sign For December

The Full Moon in Gemini in December 2021 brings with it an additional dose of good fortune.

What is the name of the moon in December?

After the worm trails that appeared in the recently thawed ground, Native Americans named this last full moon of winter the worm moon. After the tapping of the maple trees, the moon is also known as chaste moon, death moon, crust moon, and sap moon.

April: Pink Moon

The full moon in April is known among Northern Native Americans as the pink moon, after a variety of early blossoming wildflower. This moon is also known as the springing grass moon, the egg moon, and the fish moon in different cultures.

May: Flower Moon

Because of the tremendous flowering that happens as spring gets rolling properly, many cultures refer to May’s full moon as the flower moon. The hare moon, corn growing moon, and milk moon are some of its other names.

June: Strawberry Moon

The full moon in June is named after the gathering of strawberries in North America. It has been termed the rose moon by Europeans, while it has been dubbed the hot moon by other civilizations as the start of the summer heat.

July: Buck Moon

Male deer, who shed their antlers every year, begin to regrow them in July, hence the full moon’s Native American moniker. Because of the summer storms in this month, some people call this moon the thunder moon. The hay moon, which occurs after the hay harvest in July, is another name for it.

August: Sturgeon Moon

The full moon in August was dubbed the “sturgeon moon” by North American fishing tribes because the species increased in numbers during this month. For the reddish colour it often takes on in the summer haze, it’s also known as the green corn moon, the grain moon, and the red moon.

September: Full Corn Moon

The full corn moon in September is named after the time when crops are harvested at the end of the summer season. The Moon is particularly bright and rises early at this time, allowing farmers to continue harvesting late into the night. This moon is also known as the barley moon, and it is frequently the closest full moon to the fall equinox, earning it the moniker “harvest moon.”

October: Hunter’s Moon

The hunter’s moon follows the harvest moon, and it is the best month to hunt summer-fattened deer and fox that can’t hide in bare fields. The hunter’s moon, like the harvest moon, is particularly brilliant and long in the sky, allowing hunters to stalk game at night. The withering grass moon and the travel moon are two more names for the same moon.

November: Beaver Moon

The origin of November’s beaver moon name is a point of contention. Some claim it’s because Native Americans set beaver traps during this month, while others believe it’s because beavers are busy constructing their winter dams. The frost moon is another name for it.

What is a blue moon?

In around 354 days, the Moon completes 12 full cycles of its phases, which is 11 days less than a calendar year. The discrepancy adds up to an extra, 13th full moon every two and a half years or so, and this comparatively rare occurrence is frequently referred to as a ‘blue moon.’ However, the term’s precise origins are unknown: it was initially applied to the third full moon of a season with four full moons, and it is now sometimes applied to a second full moon happening within a single calendar month. Here’s where you can learn more about blue moons.

What is the harvest moon?

The harvest moon is the closest full moon to the autumnal equinox and is one of the most well-known Moon names. Farmers can work late into the night thanks to the Harvest Moon’s light, which aids in the harvesting of crops from the fields. September is the most common month for this.

In December 2021, what is the phase of the moon?

The next full Moon will occur on Saturday, December 18, 2021, at 11:36 p.m. EST, when it will appear opposite the Sun (in Earth-based longitude). It will be on Sunday from Venezuela, Bolivia, Manaus, and Canada’s Atlantic time zones eastward across Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia to the International Date Line since it is close enough to midnight. Because they are based on Coordinated Universal Time, most commercial calendars will show this full Moon on Sunday, December 19. (UTC). This is a full Moon weekend since the Moon will be full for three days around this period, from Friday evening to Monday morning.

One Moon, Many Names

In the 1930s, the Maine Farmers’ Almanac started printing Native American names for full Moons. These names have become well-known and frequently used over time. Due to the long, chilly nights, the full Moon in December is known as the Cold Moon, according to this almanac. Other names include the Frost Moon, which refers to the frosts that occur as winter approaches, and the Winter Moon.

Old European titles for this Moon include the Moon before Yule and the Oak Moon, as it is the full Moon before the winter solstice. Yule is a pre-Christian European winter solstice event that lasts three days. As part of Norway’s Christianization in the 10th century, King Haakon I connected Yule with Christmas, and this association spread throughout Europe. Some believe the term Oak Moon comes from old druidic customs of harvesting mistletoe from oak trees, which was first documented in the first century CE by Roman historian Pliny the Elder. The term “druid” is thought to come from the Proto-Indo-European roots for “oak” and “to see,” implying that “druid” means “oak knower” or “oak seer.”

This will be the Long Night Moon, as it will be the full Moon closest to the winter solstice. The plane of the Moon’s orbit around the Earth is almost identical to the Earth’s orbit around the Sun. When the Sun’s journey in the sky is at its lowest point for the year, the route of the full Moon opposite the Sun is at its highest point. The Moon will be in the sky for a total of 15 hours 33 minutes in the Washington, D.C., area on Saturday evening into Sunday morning, Dec. 18 to 19, 2021, with 14 hours 34 minutes of it when the Sun is down, making this the longest full Moon night of the year.

With the full Moon in the sky and early sunsets, this could be the Child Moon. Astrid Hattenbach, then 7 years old, was walking home from school with her father Henry Throop two years ago (a friend and former coworker at NASA Headquarters). “You know what this Moon is called?” she asked as she gazed at the rising full Moon. It’s referred to as a Child Moon. Because the Moon rises at a time when the children are not in bed, and they may even be outside like we are right now, they may see it. When Henry told me about it, I thought it was a great name.

Friday and Saturday, December 17 and 18, 2021, will be the earliest evenings with a full Moon in the sky.

This full Moon coincides with the Hindu festival of Datta Jayanti, which commemorates the birth of the Hindu god Dattatreya (Datta). This full Moon also falls on the Hindu festival of Thiruvathira, which is celebrated in the Indian states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

This is Unduvap Poya for Sri Lankan Buddhists. The Buddha is claimed to have achieved enlightenment while meditating in India under the Bodhi Tree. Sangamitta Theri, the daughter of Emperor Asoka and the founder of a Buddhist nuns’ order in Sri Lanka, carried a branch of this tree to the island in the 3rd century BCE. King Devanampiya Tissa planted the sapling at the Mahamevnwa Park in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka, around 288 BCE. It is thought to be the world’s oldest living human-planted tree with a date of planting.

This is also known as the Chang’e Moon, after the three Chinese lunar landers that launched and landed on the Moon around this period. Chang’e, the Chinese goddess of the Moon, dwelt on the Moon with her pet rabbit, Yutu, and gave these missions her name. On December 1, 2013, the Chang’e 3 lander and its Yutu rover launched and landed on the Moon. On December 7, 2018, the Chang’e 4 lander and Yutu-2 rover launched and arrived on the Moon on January 3, 2019. The Chang’e 5 lunar sample return mission launched on November 23 (in UTC, November 24 in China’s time zone), retrieved samples from the Moon, and returned them to Earth on December 16, 2020, the first time humanity has returned to the Moon since 1976.

The Moon’s Connection to Calendars

The months change with the new Moon in most lunar and lunisolar calendars, and full Moons occur in the middle of the lunar month. This full Moon falls in the Chinese calendar’s eleventh month, Tevet in the Hebrew calendar, and Jumada al-awwal (also known as Jumada al-Ula) in the Islamic calendar’s eleventh month.

In appreciation of the full Moon, as is customary, donning appropriately joyful celestial apparel is encouraged. Keep warm, but take advantage of the early evenings to get outside, look up, and enjoy the beauties of the sky!

Here are more celestial events between now and the full Moon after next (with times and angles based on the location of NASA Headquarters in Washington):

The daily intervals of sunlight reach their shortest during the winter solstice as fall finishes and winter begins, and then begin to extend again. Morning twilight will begin at 6:18 a.m., sunrise will be at 7:22 a.m., solar noon will be at 12:04:53 p.m., when the Sun will reach its maximum altitude of 27.74 degrees, sunset will be at 4:48 p.m., and evening twilight will conclude at 5:52 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021 (the day of the full Moon).

The Northern Hemisphere winter solstice, the astronomical end of fall and the beginning of winter, will occur on Tuesday, December 21, 2021. The winter solstice occurs on the day when the Sun is at its lowest point in the sky at solar noon, and the time between sunrise and dusk is the shortest of the year. The period from sunrise to sunset at NASA Headquarters will be 9 hours, 26 minutes, and 12.9 seconds. The Sun will hit its lowest daily high of the year, 27.71 degrees, at 12:06:22 p.m., marking solar noon.

Because it features the shortest period of sunshine, the winter solstice is also referred to as the “shortest day of the year.” It’s almost the shortest solar day of the year (as measured for example from noon to noon on a sundial). The length of a solar day fluctuates throughout the year (I have a full write-up available upon request if you’re curious why).

Solar days are significantly longer around the solstices than the 24-hour average that our clocks utilize. As a result, the earliest sunsets of the year occur before the solstice, and the later sunrises of the year occur after the solstice (ignoring Daylight Saving Time). The longest solar day of the year (measured from noon to noon on a sundial) for Washington, D.C., will be from solar noon on December 21 to solar noon on December 22, 2021, which is 29.8 seconds longer than 24 hours.

Since 2007, when Congress altered the commencement of Daylight Saving Time from the end of October to the beginning of November, the last sunrises of the year (under DST) have occurred in late October and early November, just before we return to Standard Time. Ignoring Daylight Saving Time, Tuesday and Wednesday, January 4 and 5, 2022, are tied for the latest sunrises of the year in the Washington, D.C. area, with sunrises at 7:26:56 a.m. EST.

Morning twilight will begin at 6:18 a.m., sunrise will be at 7:22 a.m., solar noon will be at 12:04:53 p.m., when the Sun will reach its maximum altitude of 27.74 degrees, sunset will be at 4:48 p.m., and evening twilight will conclude at 5:52 p.m. by Monday, Jan. 17, 2022 (the day after the full Moon).

Comet Leonard (C/2021 A1)

More information about comet Leonard was included in my previous Full Moon Guide for November to December 2021. In the Detailed Daily Guide below, I’ve updated certain day-by-day predictions. Based on how bright comet Leonard has been recently, it does not appear to be as bright as comet NEOWISE from last year. This comet should be seen using a backyard telescope or binoculars, and under very clear and dark observation conditions, it may be visible to the naked eye. Keep a watch on the sky and listen to the news because comets can surprise us by erupting in massive bursts of gas and dust as they approach the Sun, and better observations and models can improve estimates of how apparent this comet will become.

Comet Leonard came closest to Earth on Dec. 12, 2021, at 8:54 a.m. EST, allowing for a clear view. Around Dec. 13 or 14, roughly 1 to 2 days after its closest approach to Earth, the highest brightness is projected. The optimum viewing will change from the Northern to the Southern Hemisphere around the closest approach. Viewers in the Washington, D.C. area will require a clear view of the horizon because the comet will only be a few degrees above the horizon as evening twilight ends, and it will not show above the horizon at all in further northern latitudes.

Please keep in mind that the hours and angles I provide are based on Washington, D.C., so the times and time zones may alter depending on where you are. After Dec. 13, the viewing of comet Leonard in the evening swings fast over the northern mid-latitudes to the Southern Hemisphere. A lot of online astronomy tools allow you to enter your location and receive location-specific graphics to help you navigate your comet viewing.

Meteor Showers

In last month’s column, I also mentioned how to see the Geminid meteor shower, which will peak on the morning of December 14, 2021.

The Quadrantid meteor shower will begin to show a few meteors around December 28, 2021, and will peak in the afternoon of January 3, 2022 (in EST, when we won’t be able to see them from the Americas), before tapering down by January 12. Even though we won’t be able to see this peak because there will be no moonlight on the mornings of January 3 and 4, 2022, if you find yourself in a dark spot after midnight but before morning twilight begins with a clear view of the night sky, keep an eye out. This year, if you really want to view the apex of this meteor shower, you should travel to Asia or Eastern Europe.

Because most of us live in locations with too much light pollution to view these meteors, I’ve decided not to provide descriptions of numerous minor meteor showers that are projected to peak at between 3 and 10 meteors per hour (under ideal conditions) during this lunar cycle.

Evening Sky Highlights

As evening twilight ends (at 5:52 p.m. EST) on Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021 (the day of the full Moon), the brightest planet visible will be Venus, which will be 11 degrees above the southwestern horizon. Jupiter will be the next brightest planet, rising 34 degrees above the south-southwestern horizon. Saturn, which will appear to the right of Jupiter at 21 degrees above the southwestern horizon, will be the faintest of the visible planets in the sky. Mercury will have set by the time evening twilight ends, but it may be seen from about 30 minutes after sunset (5:18 p.m.) until Mercury sets 9 minutes later if you have a very clear view of the southwestern horizon.

Comet Leonard will be roughly 7 degrees above the southwestern horizon, but it will most likely be too faint to observe without a telescope. Deneb, which is 58 degrees above the west-northwestern horizon, will be the closest star visible overhead. Deneb is the 19th brightest star in our night sky, located around 2,600 light-years from Earth.

As the lunar cycle progresses, Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, and the background of stars will appear to shift toward the West each evening (despite the fact that the Earth is moving around the Sun toward the East), while Mercury will appear to shift in the opposite direction, appearing above the west-southwestern horizon as evening twilight ends on Dec. 27.

The bright planet Venus will be visible above the horizon when evening twilight expires on New Year’s Eve, Dec. 31, 2021, however it may still be visible in the glow of dusk 30 minutes after sunset for a few more evenings.

The waxing crescent Moon will pass close to Mercury on January 3rd, Saturn on January 4th, and Jupiter on January 5th, 2022.

As evening twilight ends on Jan. 8, Mercury will appear at its highest above the west-southwestern horizon (4.5 degrees), after which it will begin to shift back toward the horizon, dimming as it becomes more of a crescent, like the other planets. Saturn will appear to be catching up to Mercury at first, and they will be at their closest (3.3 degrees apart) on Jan. 12, with Mercury being the brighter of the two and appearing to Saturn’s lower right. Following this, Mercury will begin to move closer to the horizon than Saturn, and the two will appear to split each evening.

As evening twilight ends (at 6:14 p.m. EST) on Monday, Jan. 17, 2022 (the day after the full Moon), Jupiter will be the brightest planet visible, appearing 20 degrees above the southwestern horizon. Saturn, which will emerge to the lower right of Jupiter at only 2 degrees above the horizon and set 15 minutes later, will be the other visible planet. Mercury, which is currently fainter than Saturn, will have set around 2 minutes earlier. The full Moon will rise near the brilliant star Pollux in the east-northeast horizon. There will be no especially bright stars visible overhead, with Capella being the closest at 53 degrees above the eastern horizon. Capella appears to us as a single star (the sixth brightest in our night sky), but it is actually made up of four stars (two pairs of stars orbiting each other). Capella is 43 lightyears away from Earth.

Morning Sky Highlights

As morning twilight begins (at 6:25 a.m. EST) on Dec. 18, 2021 (the day of the full Moon), Mars will be the sole visible planet in the sky, appearing 7 degrees above the southeastern horizon. The brilliant stars of our home galaxy’s local arm will have already set. The closest star to overhead will be Arcturus, which will be visible at slightly more than 54 degrees above the east-southeastern horizon. Regulus, at slightly less than 54 degrees above the southwestern horizon, will be a close second. Arcturus is the fourth brightest star in our night sky, located 36.7 light-years away. While it has a mass similar to our Sun, it is 2.6 billion years older and has used up its core hydrogen, transforming into a red giant 25 times the size and 170 times the brightness of our Sun.

Each morning, Mars and the background of stars will appear to shift toward the West as the lunar cycle advances, with Mars appearing to move more slowly (as it too is going around the Sun in the same direction we are going). Mars and the brilliant star Antares will appear near each other low on the southeastern horizon in late December. Mars will appear fainter than Antares because it will be on the far side of the Sun as seen from Earth. The morning of December 27, 2021, they will be at their closest (4.5 degrees), with Mars to the upper left and Antares to the lower right. Antares’ color is similar to Mars’, hence the name “Antares” is frequently translated as “Mars’ competitor.” On December 21, the waning Moon will pass close to the bright star Pollux, on December 24, Regulus, on December 24, Spica, on December 28, and Regulus and Mars on December 31. Before morning twilight begins around Jan.15, 2022, the bright planet Venus will begin to emerge from the glow of dawn approximately 30 minutes before sunrise and will begin to appear above the east-southeastern horizon.

As morning twilight begins (at 6:23 AM EST) on Jan. 17, 2022 (the day after the next full Moon), the bright planet Venus will seem barely 2 degrees above the east-southeastern horizon, and the fainter planet Mars will appear 10 degrees above the southeastern horizon. The full Moon will be seen low on the horizon toward the west-northwest, near the bright star Pollux. Arcturus, at 70 degrees above the southern horizon, will be the brightest star visible closest to overhead. The constellation Ursa Major, often known as the Big Dipper, will be visible near overhead to the north.