When to see the Full Cold Moon—the last full moon of 2020

Say what you will about 2020, but this year has been filled with some rare and exceptional treats for stargazers.

This was the year that brought us three consecutive supermoons, summertime meteor showers, a rare Halloween Blue Moon — and don’t forget when NASA discovered “sprites” and “elves” on Jupiter.

The last full moon of the year — the “Cold Moon” — will close out this year of celestial wonderment.

The full moon officially occurs on Dec. 29 at 10:28 p.m. EST, but as always, it will appear full to the naked eye the day before and after. And since these are some of the longest nights of the year, skywatchers will have ample time to get a look at the last full moon of 2020.

This year was unique because there were 13 full moons throughout the year when the average year has only 12.

The extra full moon is the Blue Moon.


Throughout history, different cultures have given various names to the full moons, and these names typically relate to what’s happening in nature. June’s full moon is sometimes called the Full Strawberry Moon, for example, since strawberries often burst forth that month, and September is known as the Full Corn Moon, as that is when the corn harvest begins.

November’s full moon was the Beaver Moon, as it aligns with the time when beavers complete their preparations for winter. And since December marks the beginning of winter and many locations begin to experience winter’s chill, December’s full moon is the Cold Moon.

The first full moon of 2021 will be the Wolf Moon, and we’ll get a chance to see that on Jan. 28.

Follow meteorologist Jason Meyers on Twitter or watch one of his entertaining and educational YouTube videos.