Tonight’s “Cold” full moon is 2013’s last and smallest


The almost full moon from December 15, 2013 in Arlington, Va. (Kevin Wolf via Flickr)

In between breaks in the clouds this evening, if you can, sneak a quick peak at tonight’s full moon, the last of 2013.  It will rise at 4:35 p.m., reaches fullness at 4:28 a.m. (although by then it may be too cloudy to see), and sets at 7:16 a.m. EST.

The ultimate full moon of 2013 has been named the Cold Moon, the Long Night Moon, and the Moon Before Yule – for reasons that are obvious given the calendar.


The waxing gibbous (almost full) moon December 15 (Jim Knapp via Flickr)

It is not only the last full moon of 2013, but also the smallest.  It’s the full moon that most closely coincides with the most distant point in the moon’s orbit known as the apogee, which will make it appear smaller and duller than the typical full moon. These are the opposite circumstances of the supermoon.

“[It’s within] 500 kilometres of the most distant apogee that can occur, as the Moon’s apogee can vary between ~404,000 and 406,700 kilometres distant,” notes Universe Today.

Despite the moon’s distance away, it will be easy to spot,  if clouds give it a chance.

“She seems to draw more attention than usual at this time of the year due to her persistence in the sky on the year’s longest nights as well as her high declination in the northern sky,” notes Geoff Chester of the U.S. Naval Observatory.

Jason is currently the Washington Post’s weather editor. A native Washingtonian, Jason has been a weather enthusiast since age 10.
Comments
Show Comments
Most Read Local

Heat Tracker

31
90-degree days year-to-date
Yearly Average
36
Record Most
67 (1980,2010)
Record Fewest
7 (1886,1905)
Last Year
24

At a Glance

Thu.

thunderstorms
78° /94°
Drop 60%

Fri.

sunny_clear
72° /91°

Sat.

partlycloudyday
73° /91°

Sun.

partlycloudyday
72° /92°

Mon.

thunderstorms
73° /93°
Drop 20%

Tue.

thunderstorms
73° /94°
Drop 20%
National Airport
Dulles
BWI

Right Now

D.C. Area Almanac

 
National
Dulles
BWI
Avg. High
 
Avg. Low
 
Rec. High
 
Rec. Low
 
Sunrise
 
Sunset
°F
 
 
°C
Next Story
Jason Samenow · December 16, 2013