Here’s all you need to know to witness the Ice Moon, the last full moon of 2022.
On December 8, the celestial vault will show us the Ice Moon, the last full moon of 2022 and the longest of all. It will pave the way for the entrance of the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere and summer in the southern hemisphere. The natural satellite will be completely illuminated by the Sun’s rays and will give us a magical view. Best of all, it will be visible in many spots in the world.
How to see the Ice Moon 2022?
The Earth will be placed in the middle of the Sun and the Moon, which will allow the latter to fully receive the rays of our star and also face the night side of the planet. The result is a beautiful full moon that will close the lunar calendar of 2022, that is, it will be the last full moon of the year.
On Thursday, December 8, the Ice Moon will rise along the ecliptic, reaching its maximum at 23:36 ET; it will be full for the next two days.
To observe it, it is recommended to look to the east at the moment when the natural satellite shows its first glimpses over the horizon. The Moon will appear in the east at approximately 7:00 p.m. ET, at which time it will be perceived as much larger and more dazzling due to the optical illusion. However, as it rises along the ecliptic it will appear to lose size because the satellite is close to its apogee, which is the farthest point from the Earth.
The satellite will be 406,321 kilometers from us, which is more than 22,000 kilometers from its average distance from Earth. On average, the Moon rotates at 384,400 kilometers from our planet; however, it does not have a perfectly circular orbit, so there are times when it moves away to its maximum distance (apogee) and other times when it gets too close to us (perigee).
Once the Moon makes its appearance in the east at 7 p.m. ET, it will follow its path along the ecliptic, which is the imaginary line that cuts the celestial map with a curve from east to west. According to NASA, the Ice Moon will be the longest full moon of the year, as it will take 15 hours and 33 minutes to reach the west, where it will finally set and will not be seen again until next year.
Why is it called Ice Moon?
The names of the full moons are different for each month and come from the cosmovision of the traditional North American peoples who lived in complete harmony with nature. Thanks to this, they gave a specific name to each full moon depending on what happens on Mother Earth.
It is thanks to this that the December full moon is called the Ice Moon, Cold Moon, or Frozen Moon because once it rises in the sky, only a few days will pass until the arrival of the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere. In contrast, the December full moon marks the countdown to the beginning of summer in the southern hemisphere.
The Ice Moon of 2022 will not be the only phenomenon to admire in the sky, that same night of December 8, Mars will reach its closest approach to our planet and will shine more brightly than usual.
Story originally published in Spanish in Ecoosfera