Skygazers will get to witness the last lunar event of the year in a few days. After a spectacular “great conjunction” of planets, the final full Moon or Cold Moon of 2020 will appear in the night sky on December 29-30. In India, Cold Moon will make its appearance on December 30.
During the event, a beautiful bright orange moonrise will be on display for moongazers. A full Moon rises every 29 nights around sunset, shines all night and sets around sunrise the next morning. The full Moon of December is known as the Cold Moon in the northern hemisphere because of the cold weather in the region.
Date and time
The Cold Moon will be illuminated 100 per cent in India on December 30 at around 9 pm IST. In North America, the full Moon will be visible on December 29.
Best time to see full Moon
It is usually advised to watch the Cold Moon close to sunset and at the time of moonrise, which takes place at dusk in the eastern sky almost opposite a setting Sun. Moongazers should keep a track of time when the moonrise will occur. This is the only time when they can observe the Cold Moon in a lit landscape, be it urban or rural. The full Moon will appear on the eastern horizon about 15-20 minutes after the moonrise time.
Reason behind orange colour of full Moon
At the time of moonrise, the reflected sunlight is seen by the observer on Earth. This sunlight reaches the observer after passing through the Earth’s atmosphere. What actually happens is that light towards the blue end of the spectrum scatters on particles due to shorter wavelengths. On the other hand, light towards the red end of the spectrum travels through the atmosphere without much scattering because of longer wavelengths. As a result of this, moonrise appears to be bright orange, turning to a pale yellow as it rises, then finally to a bright white orb.