Tonight's full moon will shine longer than usual, to peak at 10.42 pm IST: All you need to know

The full moon was visible from Tuesday to Friday morning and will reach its peak today at 10.42 pm IST.

There will be a full moon tonight and it promises to be a special one. It will be the last one this year and will also mark the end of the decade. The moon will appear above the horizon just before sunset and will be visible for a lot longer than other full moons. NASA has also said that this moon will look full from Tuesday till Friday morning.

The full moon will reach its peak today at 10.42 pm IST. Unlike lunar eclipses, there is no good or bad way to watch a full moon, so pick a comfortable spot and look in the right direction. Also, clear skies and an un-blocked view of the moon is recommended for best visibility.

A full moon seen in Washington, USA. Image credit: Flickr/ Rocky Raybell

A full moon is seen in Washington, USA. Image credit: Flickr/ Rocky Raybell

The full moon that takes place this time of the year is known by a couple of names — The full cold moon, The long night moon and The moon before Yule.

It is called the full cold moon by some Native American tribes because it heralds the incoming winter season. It is also called the long night’s moon by other tribes because it rises on the longest night of the year and shines for a longer time than the rest of the full moon.

The Yuletide festival that gives this moon its other name — moon for the Yule — is a pagan festival that was celebrated by the Germanic people. It festival underwent a transformation and is now known as Christmastide.

In Sri Lanka, this full moon is called Poya. This full moon is Uduvapa Poya, also known as Uposatha Poya and Sanghamitta Day, celebrating the planting of a sapling, in 288 BCE, from the sacred Bodhi Tree in the city of Anuradhapura by Princess Sanghamitta, who help spread the teachings of Buddha in Sri Lanka. Princess Sanghamitta was the eldest daughter of Emperor Ashoka.

Karthikai Deepam, also known as Karthikai Vilakkidu or Thrikarthika, is a festival of lights that is observed by Hindus of Tamil Nadu, Sri Lanka, and Kerala. This festival is celebrated when the nearly full Moon lines up with the Pleiades constellation (Karttikai) and was celebrated on 10 December 2019.

When is the next full moon? 

The first full Moon of next year will be the “Wolf Moon” on Friday, 10 January 2020. It will also be a penumbral lunar eclipse which takes place when the Sun, Earth, and the Moon are imperfectly aligned. The Earth blocks some of the Sun's light from directly reaching the Moon's surface and covers all or part of the Moon with the outer part of its shadow, also known as the penumbra. People in Asia and Europe will be able to witness this event.

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