'Long Night's Moon' comes on Christmas for first time since 1977

The "long night's moon" rises on Christmas for the first time since 1977.

The last full moon of the year, known as the Long Night's Moon, falls on Christmas this year for the first time in 38 years, and the last time until 2034.

The moon will be full about 6:12 a.m. Friday, so it will actually appear its brightest on Christmas Eve. It rises at 4:33 p.m. Thursday and sets at 7:11 a.m. Friday.

But it will still shine brightly Christmas night, rising about 5:29 p.m.

It may or may not be visible in Baltimore. A 30 percent chance of showers is forecast both Thursday and Friday nights, according to the National Weather Service.

The closest full moon to the winter solstice is known as the Long Night's Moon, with less than 9 and a half hours of daylight at this time of year. Monday and Tuesday were the "shortest" days of the year.

Reader Iver Mindel of Cockeysville points out that this year has been special because a full moon also fell on Thanksgiving. We can only have full moons on both Thanksgiving and Christmas when the first of those holidays occurs Nov. 26.

That was not the case in 1977, and it won't be in 2034, either, he notes.

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