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thumbnail Night of the ‘Cold Moon’
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Night of the ‘Cold Moon’ © Tom Murphy/Getty Images
Historically, many cultures have looked to the moon rather than the sun to help track the months and seasons—and they adopted special names for full moons throughout the year. That’s why, in the Northern Hemisphere, a full moon that appears in December is known as the Cold Moon, according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, a nod to the chilly temperatures of winter. Various American Indian tribes have given it equally descriptive names, including the Long Night Moon, as it occurs near the winter solstice. Other Native American terms include Oak Moon, Big Spirit Moon, and Snow Moon. The Cold Moon of 2018 rises this evening about 15 minutes after sunset. And in case you’re wondering, the moonrise on our homepage image today was photographed over the Thunderer, a mountain in Yellowstone National Park, in Wyoming.