December’s full moon, the “Cold Moon,” rose during dusk on Tuesday as Boxing Day—the day after Christmas Day—was celebrated. The final full moon of 2023 and the first of winter, it also reached higher into the night sky than any other.
Since it’s opposite the sun in the sky, December’s full moon reaches higher into the night sky than any other—as seen from the northern hemisphere—because it mirrors the sun, which is now at its lowest in the daytime sky.

It’s called the “Cold Moon” because it occurs during the beginning of winter, which began on December 21 with the solstice—the longest night of the year north of the equator. A full moon has not occurred on Christmas Day for North Americans since 2015 and won’t again until 2034, according to NASA.

December full moon: The Cold Moon says goodbye to 2023


Image courtesy NurPhoto via Getty Images

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